Transitioning from school to summer can be hard on our kids, but it can be even harder for moms, especially if you are working. For most of us the off-season isn’t as bad since we send our kids to school during the day, we are used to having some time for ourselves. This abrupt change when the last school bell rings can be struggling, make us feel unprepared and overwhelmed. As a single mom it will be even more difficult, you might feel like you just never get a break.
That is why we brought you some summer tips for this season, and share with you ideas that can help you relieve some of that summer stress. Hopefully they will help you and make your summer season much more bearable, or even enjoyable!
1. Make time for yourself
“But I don’t have time!” Sound familiar? I realize that having kids around all day means there is little time to be “alone”. So, in order to make that happen, you have to get creative and pro-active. I can tell you, someone is not going to set this up for you; you are going to have to make it happen yourself. If your kids are older, 5 and up, you can set a time every morning or afternoon where they know you have time alone. Set up the expectation and follow through. Sit outside, read on the sofa, take a walk, whatever soothes your soul. Now, if you have younger kids it may be easier to get your time alone in the morning BEFORE everyone gets up. I know for me, even with older kids this set-up works best. I can have me-time and then my mind is set for the day.
2. Adjust your work schedule
Because the days are longer, your window of “outside” playtime is extended. If you can get to work a little bit earlier (while your kids sleep in, or your spouse takes them to daycare), you can leave a little the office earlier and have a nice, long afternoon/evening with your kids. You can take them to the pool, have a picnic dinner at the park, or just blow bubbles in the yard.
3. Take a real family vacation
Whether you have the budget for a beach-bound getaway or a low-cost staycation, I highly recommend setting aside at least a few days of time off for some kind of family vacation. It can be so relaxing and energizing to be together, exploring new places and just enjoyng each other’s company—without the hectic chaos of daily home life. If you do end up going for the staycation option, avoid the temptation of “getting stuff done around the house” and prioritize fun family activities as much as you can.
4. Plan your weekends
Working moms usually think of weekends as time to get caught up on household chores, as well as to spend quality time with our kids. During summer, give yourself permission to do more of the latter at the expense of the former. Maybe you can bust out the laundry and grocery shopping on Friday night or Saturday morning, leaving the remainder of the weekend open for leisure. Or take one whole weekend for to-do list stuff, and make the following one all about family fun.
5. Make Easier Meals
Come up with some easy lunch ideas that your kids can either help you prepare or do it all themselves. I especially love when I have leftovers and the kids just re-heat those. It makes it great for everyone. We do like to experiment at our house though, so usually we plan one day in the week to do a special lunch recipe, making it part of an activity. This can be making pizza, homemade macaroni and cheese or another favorite you have. Make sure you plan ahead to avoid fast-food, especially if you are going to be out and about. The worst habit you can fall into during the summer is quickly running through the drive-thru because it is the “easiest”. At times it is necessity, but a little planning can prevent the trip!
6. Time Outside
Get your family outside everyday! This may seem like a no-brainer, but as kids get older it is easier for them to find the TV or video games very intriguing. Make an expectation for everyone, including you that you will all get outside during the day for some time of activity. Maybe it is just walking the dogs, or perhaps having a water balloon fight. Even if it rains, get creative about how to have fun outside.
7. Have a PJ only Day!
One of the well known favorites. It works throughout the year, but in the summer it can be even more fun to pick a day and purposefully stay in your pajamas, hanging out enjoying just your family. We started this “tradition” when I was a single mom and had little money for big adventures, so we created our own little adventures! We would watch movies, play games, make recipes, rest and just plain hang out! It is like taking a mini vacation in the middle of summer right at home!
8. Plan a Family Meeting
Have a family meeting to get some input from your kids about some activities they would like to do this summer. This can be a great resource for planning our summer. The suggestions sometimes surprise me, but we really have done some interesting things due to suggestions. We also have asked the kids to pick 3 things they would like to do during the summer, put them in order of preference and then we tell them we will do our best to complete at least one. It may be as simple as camping or back packing or more difficult, like getting a trampoline (which we in fact did one summer!)
9. Read a book (together!)
You can start this even when you have really young kids. By intentionally choosing to read together as a family you are encouraging this as a habit for your kids to continue to develop as they grow older. Choose a few different books to read, start with one and see where it goes. You can choose a time to read, and switch readers if you have older children. Sometimes we read around the breakfast table, it is where everyone is and it keeps them entertained too.
10. Patience, patience, and more patience!
Keep doing what you need to do in order to keep fresh and connected. Taking a deep breath is sometimes all you can do when things start getting a little crazy, but just remember, you are the adult and you just need to keep acting like an adult!
We hope your summer is one full of memory making adventures and you survive with lots of happyness and smiles!