Summer vacation started Monday and I already need to dye my hair. Not kidding… I am grey from the stress. There have been enough tears shed already that I could fill a small kiddy pool (and those are just mine, never mind the kids’ tears) and my house looks like a hurricane has hit it. Did I mention that we are only on Day THREE?
My son loves the idea of summer… swimming pool open, lemonade stands in the front yard, free bowling, lazy days on the couch watching a movie, playing Nerf battles or Super Soakers with the neighborhood brood and of course our FRIDAY FIELD TRIP adventures. But the unstructured days- he is just not wired for. Jay needs a plan of action, a schedule, dependability. No matter how many times we recite the family motto: BE FLEXIBLE… it just doesn’t help.
So our first days of summer have been filled with tears, frustration and meltdowns. It is not just Jay that has been contributing to the our waterworks. Grace has generously offered her own salty drops to the bucket. That is what got me thinking. If Grace, my so-called typical child, has problems adjusting to all the change that the end of school and beginning of summer brings, wow… just think what Jay must be feeling. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts myself too. I knew something had to be done.
And so the Summer Chart was invented. Actually several charts were established. The first one is Summer Daily Responsibilities. I posted a chart on each of the kids dry erase boards in their rooms with things like make your bed, do 2 pages of your Summer homework workbooks, read 30 minutes a day, log in the pages read on your summer reading log and so on. There are boxes after each item to be checked off. Now the kids know what is expected of them every day. It even has their weekly chores such as take out the garbage for Jay or bring down the dirty clothes hamper for Grace. It is intentionally written on the dry erase board so that it can… GULP, CHANGE!
Next came the Summer Limits Chart. This one they did not like so much. It limits the amount of time they can play DS, on the computer and watch TV a day! It actually has worked out great. We no longer have fighting over the TV… instead they have figured out that if they combine their time they actually can watch TV for 2 hours (While the other is watching their program) or even watch a movie. Of course they can earn extra time. (Great bribing for me! LOVE IT!)
And lastly we have our Summer Weekly Incentives Chart. This one I took straight from their Summer workbooks. It is great and has them work for a weekly incentive. To get their special REWARD they must complete one MIND activity, One Body Activity and one Value Activity a day! Grace is going for 30 minutes of me playing Barbies with her… uninterrupted! This week’s values include working on SHARING, being RESPONSIBLE and PATIENCE.
The patience one is the one I will be working on all summer. I asked my Facebook Fan Page peeps for advice on what to do to keep from going crazy this summer and BREATH IN AND OUT was what someone posted! Maybe I should make myself a chart with that on it to remember! Couldn’t hurt!
So are you doing anything this Summer to help keep your kids more structured and calm? Leave a comment letting us know what!
Also remember my DreamCatcher Weighted Blanket Contest is still going on. It ends June 30th at Midnight EST. To enter just make sure you LIKE my Facebook Fan Page (Click the F icon on the left-hand side bar under Follow Me) and like DreamCatcher’s Facebook page too! Then go to my review post and leave me a comment saying you did it! That simple. Here I will even give you the link to the review post to make it easier. Click HERE!