These ideas are from an e-mail I sent out to some of my friends who were part of a "Learning Circles" group together through Power of Moms. Learning circles is a group I organized that brought other moms together where we'd learn new topics each month from each other as we each took turns hosting and teaching a principle in motherhood. The idea is from a website www.powerofmoms.com. And since summer is so close I thought I'd share it again on my blog. Although, some of the exact examples are from last year, the same general thoughts I share here have helped me year after year!
"Since summer is around the corner, I have been making summer plans, as I'm sure each of you have as well. It's tough to know what to plan, how much, and when so kiddos won't get bored, but also so mom won't get stressed out. But as I have gone through this planning year after year and made some mistakes and had some successes I wanted to share something that has blessed me greatly in this area.
After a few summers where I just felt like it could have been better- I wanted to truly enjoy the full time with my children- I prayed again to know how I could go about things differently.
*One idea I had was to plan for things I WANT to do with my children, myself, husband or friends. This helped me prioritize things that are most important. Sometimes I got too caught up in trying to help my children be involved in sports or other activities- even feeling guilty like I needed to have an out of school party or even a last special event before they went back to school. This would leave me feeling burnt out and needing vital alone time much more often than I wanted to feel. But now I realize more to include ME in that picture so I can enjoy each precious moment with my children. So here's a quickly list of what has helped me:
*It's helped to make goals with myself and each of the children of things they want to learn and do each summer. With those goals we create ideas and ways to help them accomplish it. But making these with them has brought us both on board- instead of mommy just says I have to. For example this year Dallin is learning swimming, Andrew is working on his eagle project, Ben wants a job somehow, and Nathan is working hard to finish a program he is in, and for me I am trying out a nutrition program I was interested in. These are just some of our goals. I don't make many goals- just a few realistic ones that are natural goals anyway.
*It's helped to only pick out activities that will benefit not only the specific child but the whole family. If there are too many sports or activities, I've learned the whole family suffers. We just pick out as many as we feel is best for our family needs that year. This year Trek, gymnastics, soccer, scout camp and swim are taking our priority.
*Since one thing I WANT and love to do with my children is learn with them and play with them we have one day a week for one hour or so that is our "learn something new" day. In those days we've been able to draw closer together as we ask questions, research, do hands on projects, and read books or material. With those precious hours we've learned more about painting, sewing, and cooking; we've read important documents such as the Declaration of Independence, we've studied astronomy, history and things like how to lead music. It has been a very special time with them.
*One day a week we play- from our list of activities we made together we pick out one to do together each week. Whether it's walk to Top It (a frozen yogurt place), go on a hike, or play tennis together- we just have a wonderful time being together. This has helped me also realize I don't need to do these fun activities every day! I use to think that! I felt I had to come up with something fun every day- no wonder I was burnt out. Then all the other days I can go grocery shopping, let them play with friends- have it be the relaxing, enjoyable summer I think it should be.
*Another extra idea was I have homework sheets of things they maybe can improve on- like if one is struggling with math he will get a math sheet. But, they never have to do them- but if they do they have a chart where they get stars for prizes. So that way it's up to them to learn as they want and then they get small prizes if they do.
*My children also have a "help wanted" sheet where they can earn money for extra jobs around the home. (Thank you Brandi for the idea!) They have to do regular jobs anyway, it's part of being a family I feel, but these extra jobs are just that- extra. And since this is the only way my kids earn money they really appreciate this list (and so do I). This and the above idea also helps when they feel bored.
Anyway, love you sweet ladies and hope all the summer plans go well. Again, you can take this or leave it- I just had the thought to send this."
(I thought I'd still leave in the last few sentences still since I do want these ideas to be just that: helpful ideas!! I hope it helps all you busy moms out there! )