I always go into summer feeling two ways; excited and nervous. I love being able to spend time with my kids. I enjoy not having the morning crazy that comes from trying to get all the kids ready, bags packed, and out the door in time for school. I soak in the creative moments, giggles, and snuggles. At the same time, I find myself nervous understanding that change is not easy for a child that has gone through trauma and knowing it means an uptick in behavioral challenges (AKA patience pushers). June usually goes well. With vacation, swim lessons, and the newness of summer, my kids do a decent job of holding it together. By July, I’ve got one eye on the calendar thinking how are we getting through the last few weeks of summer.
Over the next three weeks, I will be sharing my personal survival list that is my go to for not just summer, but trigger times throughout the year; school breaks, holidays, school end, etc. With that being said, here we go!
Survival List # 1…
PLAN THINGS TO DO!
Planning things to do is on the top of my list. It gives my kids something to look forward to as well as gives us all a much needed break from the house. I add planning for behavior challenges and meltdowns to my overall plan so that I can feel confident about going on outings. Some places or activities practically require I have a friend, family member, or my hubby with us in order for me to feel confident it will be a win for our family, while other places allow me enough options to adjust the plan as needed on the spot. It stinks when trying to do something fun for the kids turns into a bummer so, being able to identify this in advance is HUGE!
Another lesson I have learned is to not feel guilty about adjusting the plan as needed. If our day is going well, great! We move forward as planned. If the day is not going well, I delay or sometimes cancel our outings. Yes, my kids have been disappointed but, I have learned there is nothing worse than pushing forward with an outing only to get there and wish we would have stayed home. I typically find ways to soften the blow by offering something special at home while working with whomever is struggling that day. (Side note: having respite, a friend, or family member available in case a kiddo needs to stay home while still taking the rest of the kids on an outing can be really helpful to keep kids from resenting another if there is one who continually struggles with outings).
Now for the good stuff! Here are some go to’s for things to do!
- My family loves Kids Club. They have a program where kids get a free Chipper from Paradise Bakery, raffles, food discounts, free carousel ride, AND a free movie (adults pay for their tickets). Check out a Kids Club near you http://mallkidsclub.com/.
- We look through Groupon and Living Social with our kids at the beginning or right before a break to see what they would really like to do (the kids have a limit on how many paid activities we will do and, together, they come up with their top picks)
- We give opportunities for our kids to earn money through chores and then let them pick where they want to go for a special lunch. This is a great opportunity to teach them about finances as well as get an outing in.
- POGO Passes (https://www.pogopass.com/)– I have yet to buy one but many of my friends swear by this!
- We look at community sites that tell us what is going on around us. Here are some you can check out:
Arizona Republic (Valley)
Raising Arizona Kids (Statewide)
Kids Out and About (Statewide)
Kid 101 (Valley)
Happy planning and let the first day of school countdown begin!
Founder/CEO Foster Arizona