Top 10 Tips for a Stress-Free Summer

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10 Top Tips for a Stress-Free Summer

Whether you are looking forward to the summer break or dreading it, one thing on all our minds is, how do we keep the kids occupied during these long six weeks???

Some of us are stay at home parents and others work.  Either way, the fact that the kids are out of their usual school routine can mean that they get up to a lot more mischief than normal.

Some of us don’t want to be splashing out and spending lots of money but we do want to maintain our sanity so therefore, we will want to keep our children busy. Not everyone can afford holidays abroad or the time to get away either. Here is my list of top 10 things to do to help keep your children busy during the summer that won’t cost you an arm and a leg!

1. Chores – Yes! I know what you are thinking…‘its summer and the kids want to have fun, chores are NOT fun!’ But they still need to be done and are you going to do it all by yourself? As our children grow, we want them to become independent, confident young people who can fend for themselves, being able to do chores is a great way of keeping them busy as well and teaching them independence.

If you want to give them an incentive, and you can afford it, you could pay them for each chore they do. If you  don’t want to spend the money, they could choose an activity to do once their chores are finished. Once the chores have been done, the house is nice, clean and tidy when you come home after spending some quality time out with the family. I hear some of you saying, ‘does it matter if the house is a mess before we go out?’ Err… yes, to me it does! So get the kids to pull their own weight!

2. Visit the library – Many libraries run a reading scheme during the summer which is reinforced by the school. As well as being out of the house and doing something the kids enjoy, you get them reading too. An opportunity to get them off their tablets and back to old fashioned books. At our local library, children are encouraged to read six books during the summer and once they have done this, they get a certificate which they can then take back to school and get recognition for.

Some of the children get really competitive and don’t want to be one of the children that haven’t got a certificate to take back to school. I personally, do not think children read enough anymore. Too many of them are playing computer games or sat with a tablet on their laps. It is amazing how very young babies have learnt to swipe left! Bring back the books and support your local libraries. Bring back the love of reading!!

3. Local parks – I am very fortunate to live right next to a beautiful large park which is always full of families enjoying the facilities the park has to offer. Lots of space for children to run around or ride their bikes or sit and have a picnic. There is also a huge play area, an outdoor gym and tennis courts as well as a large lake where they offer boat rides. I am also very guilty of not making use of the park as much as I could; I guess we do take for granted what we have on our doorstep.

The summer time is a great opportunity to get out and explore your local park again, and it’s free! The kids never get bored of the park and as they have fun, you get to soak up all that vitamin D from the sunshine, (let hope we get some as we never do know with the weather here!).

4. Gardening – If you are fortunate to have a garden, then you have the space to do so much without leaving your home. Seeds are quite cheap to buy if you want to get the kids to start germinating before the summer, and once they break up from school, the plants will be ready to go out outside. Not only are you teaching them some great skills, you could plant things that the kids could later harvest and use in your cooking. Have a look to see what fruits and vegetables are easy to grow and look after. Once these are planted, the kids have a responsibility to look after them, water them and then enjoy the fruits of their labour.

If you don’t have a garden, all is not lost. There are plenty of plants and herbs that can be grown indoors. Dedicate a windowsill to the plants where they will get plenty of light. Recycle your old containers to plant your seeds and ensure the kids take care of them. At least if they are indoors, you don’t have to worry about the birds, snails and insects eating everything you plant! Pinterest is a great place to seek out some ideas.

5. Activity lists – There are lots of different ways of doing this. Firstly, as a family, you need to produce a list of activities that you could possibly do. Include indoor and outdoor activities. You could then write them onto lolly sticks and place them in a jar. When you want a suggestion, pull out a stick and off you go! You could also make your kids write activities on pieces of paper and place them in a bucket, create a spin-wheel or think of a way to do this that suits you. This really adds spontaneity and adds excitement to the day.

6. Discover New Parks – Where ever you are in the UK, you will find a park. I for one know that there are plenty of parks around me that I have never visited. I may often drive passed one and think, ‘I never knew that was there!’ I intend to visit them at some point with the kids but then I forget. The kids never get bored of being outdoors, but can get used to one park, so get out and see what other parks are around you. Some parks have little farms that are free to go to. You never know what gems are around the corner.

One thing you can also do, or get the kids to create is a little worksheet to put on a clipboard of things to look out for in the park. This could be different types of tree, insects, birds, animals or even buildings. This makes your outing a little more adventurous and it means the children have a task to complete, rather than walking around without a purpose.

7. Free activities in your area – There is an abundance of free activities in our local areas that sometimes we are unaware of because we just don’t know where to look out for them. Social media is a great place for this.

I recently joined a page that is specifically for the residence of my area, I have found that people share everything and it is here that I have found out about clubs, fayres and other activities that are suitable for children.

And if it’s not on there, you can post a question and ask for suggestions and someone is bound to share an event or club or activity with you. A simple Google search will also bring up plenty of suggestions of things to do during the summer

8. Indoor activities and crafts – As much as the kids want to get out of the house every single day, it is not always possible. Family time can be well spent doing activities indoors too. Board games are brilliant for this. A game as simple as Jenga has been great fun for us and really get our kids thinking about tactics and their competitive streak really comes out.

You could try any game that the kids enjoy as well as putting together a crafts box. Kids do not bore of being creative and making things. Put together a box of all things crafty, paints, paper, glitter, the list is endless. You don’t have to go out and spend lots of money on arts and crafts stuff, see what you already have at home and put in the box. When you want to have some fun, pull out the box but don’t blame me for the mess!!!

9.  Allow boredom! – My family hate me for saying this but I really do believe that when our children tell us that they are bored, they need to think for themselves and find a way out of the boredom. We can’t always find something for them to do. It is a great opportunity for our children to develop initiative and allows us to have a break on constantly having to think of ways to entertain them.

This is not a time to pick up their mobile phone or tablets or play computer games as I really believe that these devices just make them lazy and really does not develop any skills in thinking for themselves. Allow these devices as a treat when they have worked for it. I have to stress though, if your child suggests an activity they want to do with you and you are able to spend that time with them, then do it. You will both enjoy it in the end.

10. Create a memory board – Finally, wouldn’t it be great to be able to look back at your summer break with your family and reminisce about all the fun you had? Collect items such as tickets, photos, artefacts from places you visited, thoughts, and funny moments and create a memory board.

You could use a cork board and pin everything or a large jar and place everything in it. This was when you get to the end of the summer break, the kids can’t say they didn’t do anything all summer!

Have a wonderful summer!


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