As the end of the school year approaches, Moms everywhere are wondering what to do with their children for the summer. Since my profession allows me to work out of my home, my quiet productive time turns into sweet visits and cuddles…even now that they are older. That is why I created the “Summer of Success” program we follow each year.
Over the past 18 years, I’ve always made an effort to make each summer special so that when The Crew looks back, they remember not just having fun, but becoming great people. I invested in few camps over the years as I felt we could create family experiences together to fill up our memory banks.
This meant that The Crew was around a whole lot. They had to do things to entertain themselves so boredom didn’t turn them into trolls while I was working, and they would get excited for the upcoming family fun we’d planned.
I thought everyone knew how to do this with their kids, but as I mentioned it to other Moms (and even men I dated) they were always so surprised that anyone did this. Which got me to thinking…every Mom should know how to do their own Summer of Success with their children. Here is how we have done it over the years…and if you do this and add to it, leave a comment below on what else you did.
SUMMER OF SUCCESS PRINCIPLES
We follow five basic Summer of Success Principles each day, which keeps everyone busy:
1. Get Outside
2. Improve Your Mind
3. Improve Your Talents
4. Set And Achieve Goals
5. Enjoy Quality Family Time
I post these on the refrigerator as a reminder when Mr. I’m Bored shows up. Here is the rest of the process to our Summer of Success:
STEP ONE – SUMMER PLANNING MEETING
We hold a planning night (usually in the jacuzzi where many of our family meetings are) and discuss the following:
1. Where do you want to go on vacation?
2. What talent would you like to develop?
3. What book would you like to read?
4. How do you want to practice being a better friend?
5. What do you want to do together as a family?
6. How would you like to pitch in to keep the house tidy?
7. What would you like to learn to do?
8. Who would you like to go see?
9. What tools/ supplies do you need to help you achieve what you want to do?
10. What is the most fun thing you like doing right now?
After we are done at the jacuzzi, I come home and write everything down and review it with each person prior to setting up the calendaring meeting. You could always skip the jacuzzi and do this all at once…we just like to enjoy the beach weather this time of year.
STEP TWO – SET UP THE CALENDAR MEETING
With three children, they are always going in different directions, particularly now that they are older. We block off any camps, work or summer commitments that they have then look at the time we have left to play with. Using the list of answers from the planning meeting, we incorporate them into the family calendar which hangs up in the kitchen where everyone can see what is happening.
STEP THREE – SET UP THE RULES
Because I work out of the house most of the time, Summer Rules are critical for us all to get what we want. Essentially, we’d all like to get through our work so we can get to the fun! Here are our rules:
1. When the office door is closed only come in if the house is on fire, flooding or if someone is hurt.
2. You must have 1 thing to accomplish each day
3. You must have a variety of activities
4. When it is family time, make time to join in
5. Each week is planned together so Mom gets enough work time and kids get enough play time.
STEP FOUR – WORK YOUR PLAN
I do all of the planning for the week on Sunday evening. I confirm with The Crew that the schedule we had planned still works for them and do a little check-in. I want to find out how they like what they chose to do and if there is any support they need from the rest of us to achieve what they want. I also offer encouragement on the activities that remind them of school (like reading or other mentally stimulating activities.)
I’d like to say every day follows the schedule perfectly but sometimes it doesn’t…and that is fine, we can be flexible. When things come up to foil our plans, we roll with it. People get sick, friends want to hang out (and often come along with us) or we just need down time from being so busy.
FOR AWESOME MOMS
One of the coolest thing about being an awesome Mom is figuring out how to work learning into the Summer schedule. Like planting a garden and having them measure, map out and count seeds or plants. Going on a hike and learning about rocks and sediments. Giving them cash to by ice cream cones when we go to Disneyland so they learn how to use money. (I started this back in their preschool years…and it seems to be less fun when they become teenagers…of course!!) You get the idea…help them use what they learned so they don’t feel like school is a waste of time if you can.
Enjoy your Summer of Success!