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A ball in the water with words " school is out for the summer."

It’s that time of the year, SUMMER BREAK!  Everyone is excited for the first couple of weeks.  That is, we’re delighted the first few days because we don’t have to be up at the butt-crack of dawn.  On the other hand, you now have kids home with you all day wanting to eat or constantly saying, “I’m BORED!”  We think we must rip and run.  Nope!  Let’s talk about how we can keep young school-aged kids occupied this summer without leaving the house every single day.  Yes, it can be done!

I’m all about putting some fun activities together for our kids during summer vacation, but they also need to figure things out for themselves!

Do something productive child!

No, I don’t want to hear about the number of times your sister told you to shut up.  I don’t care that the other one is staring at you and I MOST DEFINITELY DON’T care about them interrupting your facetime chat with your friends.  I’m sure you can already tell this post isn’t going to be your typical schedule of baking, craft time, playdates, lessons, lunch with friends, etc.

Nope!  That isn’t me.  Well, we do have lesson time daily. Each child has a SummerBridge workbook they must work in each day to ensure they stay ahead of the game for the upcoming school year.

Sometimes they whine about being bored.  After I stare at them like they have antlers growing out of their head, they usually walk away and stay away for a while.

Our kids attend at least one summer camp of their choice each year, along with at least two trips.  They are not just sitting around doing nothing.  And hey, doing nothing is perfectly fine too.

Do you REALLY think I care about my kids being bored?

No!  Go outside to play, read a book, watch T.V. or better yet go clean my baseboards!

Yeah, by the 3rd time of telling me how bored they are, I kindly hand over a bucket, with water and cleaner and a toothbrush to clean my baseboards. Those jokers get a good ole scrub at least once a year.

My eldest daughter is finally getting hipped and keeps her mouth shut.  The other two still have a few years to catch on.  And I will take it!  LOL

A yellow bucket and a red handle on the floor

Get to scrubbing

So, what will MomJonz do this summer?

Work.  Yes indeed.  This gal will work all summer.  Even though I work for myself and work for home, I still have to put in hours during the summer months.

Being mommy never ends.  My kids still need to eat, need to get to their camps, need yelling at about taking the dogs out.

Hubby still needs his pat on the butt as he heads out the door. Yeah, I love giving DadJonz a smack on the booty as he walks out each morning (he says I have a dominance issue.  Oh, but he loves it! Haha).  Chores still need to be done, and yes, the kids are responsible for those too.

What does our typical week look like?  Let me break it down
9/9:30 –  Breakfast
10-noon (some days till 1 with a break at 11) – Clients.  The kids need to figure something out at this time.  Work in their summer workbook, clean their rooms, argue quietly
noon/1 (some days if I have clients till 1) – Lunch
Rest of day (until about five or so) – We might go out for some fun or chill at home.

This is an example of a week without camps or travel.

I’m sure some of you are gasping right now.  How dare this mom be home all day with her kids, and NOT entertain them?

We have three well mannered, intelligent, independent children (for the most part. They do things that make you scratch your head. Just as any other child)

There’s three of them! Entertain one another.

Children do not need to be entertained all day, every day.  Trust me. Our kids are treated well and have lots of opportunities to explore. And most importantly, be kids.

Don’t Get Parent Guilt

When school is out for the summer, don’t get parent guilt.  The guilt of not being with your children all day.  No! No!  Don’t fall for it.  Quality time is far greater than quantity.  And parents, I hate to share this with you…BUT!  Kids want a break from us too!

Summer is a great time for kids to learn a bit of independence. You don’t have to plan out every hour of their day.  You don’t even have to get out of the house every day.

A boy and girl playing with water outside.

How To Keep Young School-Aged Kids Occupied This Summer Without leaving the house

Give them chores – I have a handheld cordless vacuum cleaner and give our kids $2 a week when they vacuum the house. I recommend keeping a cordless vacuum as they are handy if you need to do spot cleaning.  With three kids, we break up areas of the house and have the entire house vacuumed once a week.  Chores are also a great way to help boost a child’s confidence.
Work on lessons to ensure they don’t lose skills at school – tell them what to do and let them go at it.  They can ask for help as they need it. Teach independence of school work. Teachers love independent workers and students who ask questions when they need help.

Good ‘ole outdoor fun – Get a water hose and send them outside to play in the sprinklers.  Take the kiddos back to your childhood days of tag, and Red Rover.  Yes, that means you will need to allow other neighborhood kids and friends to join in.  Trust me. It’s good for the kids.  We’ve gotten away from letting our kids go out and play. Heck, we don’t even take the time to get to know our neighbors these days.
Turn the TV on for a while each day– your child will be ok watching a bit of TV each day.  I know there’s the whole debate about screentime, but you can control what is on the tube.  Turn on an educational show and then add an age appropriate TV show or movie of their choice.                                                                                                                                                  Invite friends over – this can be a two for one.  Invite a few of your young kid’s friends over to play and have a mom date too.  The kids can play as the moms chat.  Adult interaction is always important.  And hey….there’s nothing wrong with stating a begin and end time.  Love ya, but you gotta go!                                                                                                                                      Arts and Crafts -  if your child enjoys making things, painting, etc.  You can find things around the house for them to be creative or purchase inexpensive items for arts and crafts projects.

“But, MomJonz.  If I don’t have activities planned for them each day, they will drive me up a wall.”

Well, that may be true, but they are kids.  They are going to drive you insane regardless of how much you rip and run with them.  If you plan activities for them every day, you will be broke and have children who feel they must be entertained in life. Encourage them to be creative and do things for themselves and alone.  Of course, this is all within appropriate age levels.

In a nutshell, don’t feel like you must cater to your children this summer. They will be ok playing alone or even just sitting on the couch being bored.  Don’t You DO IT! 

******I’m revisiting this post three years later.  Our kids have entered the tween and teen years.  You know what?  This post still holds true!  The only difference.  They all know not to say they are bored! LOL******

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