I love summer! While many people look forward to the cooler days of fall, I love the lazy days of summer! Days spent enjoying the pool, trips to the beach, BBQ’s, sidewalk chalk, and late night trips for ice cream. However I wasn’t always a fun mom.
Our summer kicked off a few weeks ago and we’ve been enjoying every single minute of it. I use to dread summer. Trying to come up with things to do, activities, fighting with the kids about how much TV they were allowed to watch (back in the day when every child didn’t have their own device!).
My Type A personality likes to take free time and turn it into project time. I’ve realized over the years, that while projects are great, kids need lots of opportunities to be kids.
Kids don’t leave the house after breakfast and come home after dark anymore. My kids rely on me (and my ability to operate a vehicle) to help them plan play dates and activities.
All of this hit me a few years ago when I jumped into our pool. One of my kids exclaimed that they had no idea I knew how to swim!
I grew up in Florida, with a pool, and have been swimming since I was five years old. My summers in high school were spent wake boarding, skiing and riding wave runners. I love the water.
Not to mention I taught almost all of them HOW TO SWIM.
However my children actually thought I didn’t know how to swim because I NEVER went swimming with them. I don’ want to dry my hair, change clothes, and deal with the interruption that getting soaking wet at 1pm provides.At that moment I realized that while I was doing a great job at providing my kids with food, activities, friends, and transportation, and saying yes to things they wanted to do, I was doing a terrible job of enjoying any of it with them.
I realized my kids actually liked spending time together (and with me) as long as it didn’t ALWAYS revolve around chores, cleaning, organizing, etc.
That moment, I resolved to focus on more fun with the kids during our summer break than projects. The projects still got done (I usually used them an incentive to do really fun things) but I spent more time actually doing things with the kids.
If you really struggle with letting go of the chores and playing with the kids, try to incentivize yourself and the kids.
For me, I try to wake up early in the summer and check off some of my “t0-do” list before the kids wake up. My kids love to sleep in, so I usually have a few hours very productive hours to complete almost everything on my list.
Once my kids get up, they usually have a short list of chores/ projects/ jobs to complete before they have free time.
After they’ve had breakfast and completed their chores I like to try to do something together. Whether it’s a game, swimming, an out of the house activity, or watching a movie, I make a priority to have family time.
Creating Your Own Incentives to be a Fun Mom
Here’s the catch, if I find myself struggling to make this happen I create my own incentive to do it. For example, no social media until after family time.
Once we’ve done something fun together, everyone can do their own thing. My younger kids are more willing to respect my time when I’ve already given them some of it.
If I spend all day telling them we will get to it later, they usually know that later isn’t going to happen.
Making our family fun activities a priority (and doing them earlier rather than later) ensures they actually happen.
Sometimes our family fun activities are evening events, in that case my kids know they can lose the privilege if they don’t complete their jobs and projects during the day.
Remember while I think it’s important to do things with your kids, it’s also really important to teach your kids to play independently and peacefully with each other.
I’ve compiled some of our favorite things to do (together and apart) over the summer to give you some inspiration and motivation to enjoy the next several months with your kids.
Fun Things to Do This Summer
Backyard Fun Zone!
Even if you don’t have a pool, or live close to the beach you can still create an amazing fun zone right in your own backyard. When we lived up north this was my favorite part about summer. It allowed my kids to be super creative and kept them busy all day long!
Years ago my sister’s in-laws created the fun zone to end all fun zones, complete with a dunk bucket. My kids still talk about how much fun that had that summer visiting my sister.
You can create your own dunk bucket and other outdoor games on a budget and you’re kids will never want to come inside!
If you are wondering how to be a fun mom, let your kids dunk you with the dunk bucket a few times. You’ll win mom of the year for the next 10 years!
Study the Clouds
In Florida, summer sun gives way to amazing showers almost every afternoon. Sneak in a little learning this summer with summer cloud science. There’s even a fun experiment your kids can do to make it rain right inside your house! (Don’t worry- it’s not messy!)
Beat the Boredom
I hear the phrase “mom, I’m bored” every single summer. Beat the summer boredom and keep kids off the electronics with this Activity Jar. Fill your jar with over 80 activities that will keep your kids busy this summer. We’ve even created a free download so you can print out all the activities and get started right away!
Some of my kids have never been a fan of reading “when it doesn’t count” but here are some ways to motivate your child to read a few books this summer. My personal goal is to read at least one book a week over the summer.
I’m currently reading Atomic Habits and it’s amazing! If you haven’t read it, check it out from your library today!
Even though I’d love to have a media free summer, I realize that’s not going to happen. I try to redeem the screen time by encouraging my kids to learn while they are having screen time. Here are 10 educational YouTube channels we love and give me a break from the constant activities of summer.
Favorite Sumer Foods
Fire up the Grill
My kids eat literally anything that’s grilled! I’m not sure why their picky selves will eat anything cooked outside, but they will. Some of our favorites are chicken, potatoes, pizza (yes you can grill pizza and it’s amazing!), salmon, and veggies.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine want to eat every single minute of the day. Here are 20 of our favorite summertime snacks. (Many of them are pretty healthy too!)
Get it Done!
I can’t spend the whole summer swimming with the kids. However I can spend a good chunk of time with them each day. Each week I come up with one area of the house that needs some extra special attention!
Summer is a great time to clean out closets, organize games, purge old DVD’s and CD’s you don’t watch or listen to any more. In fact my kids know that every summer we go through all our kitchen cabinets and reorganize our dishes, pots and pans and those pesky tupperware containers that always seem to be without a matching lid. Here’s a quick overview of how we declutter different areas of the house.
The kids can clean and organize with me. My kids start helping with chores as soon as they show an interest (which is usually by the time they are three or four years old. If you aren’t sure what jobs your littles can help you with, refer to this age appropriate chore chart.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that time flies whether you’re having fun or not! I snapped the photo on the right of my daughter last night on the playground. It seems like just yesterday I took the photo on the left.
Remember to enjoy the little moments this summer with your kids! You won’t regret a single second of being a fun mom.