Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer's here!

It's summer time! I enjoy the warmer days and sunny skies. I look forward to the big and little trips we have planned. (Using the term "vacation" is a stretch...I think a real vacation would be child-less...) I love watching the kids splash in the pool-they have such joy in the water! I enjoy lazy mornings without the usual 'rush-out-the-door-to-school' routine.

BUT the summer can be challenging for those of us with spirited/active/high-needs kids, or kids with sensory problems, or kids who just thrive on a regular schedule. Our family definitely falls into this category. This means some intense fun, but also, some intense anger and exhaustion. Perhaps you parents out there can sympathize here?

We all need a little un-structured time to rest our brains and bodies after a busy school year. There is no doubt of that. But I am working on finding some kind of structure to our days so we don't all drive each other bonkers. There will be an inevitable amount of craziness, boredom, exhaustion, fighting, screaming, etc. But I am trying not to dwell on these parts because of their inevitability. The one thing I can control (somewhat) is the schedule.

This is what I've come up with so far:
Swimming lessons. My daughter is emerging in her swim skills and my son has zero skills (but loves the water). My 3-year-old has never had lessons before and so far, he is really engaged.

Reading. We have some trips to the library planned and read a little bit every day. I would rather spend money on books than toys that will just accumulate in our house and rarely get used!

Exercise. How important for little ones as well as adults! My daughter is enrolled in cheer and tumbling classes. We have been hiking around our house and riding bikes/scooters. I find that the kids usually complain if I say we are going outside for exercise, but they usually take to it as soon as we get started. Surprisingly, they enjoy a kids yoga dvd I found so we can do that on those hotter days to stay indoors.

Art. I bought supplies at our local arts and crafts store to do some kind of project each day. Stamps, finger paint, water colors, card-making, play doh, air-dry clay, chalkboards, mask design-just to name a few.

Academics. Kind of a funny term to use during the summer I guess! We have collected many puzzles, letter and number activities for my pre-schooler. I have to find ways to fit in speech and language development for him without making it seem like work! For my new 1st grader, we are going to work on math skills (in a fun way), word games (bananagrams or scrabble anyone?), and keeping a journal of our summer activities.

To top it all off, we have a Summer Wish List. It is a collective list that the whole family adds to.
Here are some things on our list:
Make an ice cream sundae bar
Watch a movie outdoors
Paint pottery
Try ice-skating
Rent a boat on the lake
Watch fireworks
Make lots of s'mores
Go to a water park

Do you have a summer wish list? It's fun to keep a running list of things the family wants to do. My daughter suggested we write down each idea on a small piece of paper and put them all in a jar. Then, one day we pull out an idea and it's our surprise activity for the day. I am not certain if I can deal with that kind of spontaneity but I will work on it!

On a final note: we are returning to one of our favorite spots later this summer (San Diego) and can't wait! Here are some pics from a few years ago.

Seaworld with Emily (3)

Ben (10 months) on the beach with grandma