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Sane Summer Fun

Stay sane this summer with tips from author and mother of six, Connie Sokol.


It's that time againâ"”popsicles, playtime, and perpetually tired moms trying to find the balance between fun and functional. Here are a few tips to do both!

#1. Establish a morning routine. At the end of school, give your children a few days of just sleeping in and doing nada. But then, create a simple list of daily chores or zones that only need deep clean once a week, and a quick tidy the rest of the time. For example, key areas could be the family room, kitchen, entry way, etc. On each child's morning chore list would be this zone, as well as daily chores such as their bedroom and bathroom.

This works wonders because children quickly tidy up the main family areas so the day starts fresh. And, working together helps bonding as well as helps avoid more contention laterâ"”after they've worked, they're far more ready to play without fuss.

#2. Create a "Never Bored Board". As a family, brainstorm fun activities to do in the summer, separating ideas by "Inside, Outside, Family Projects, and Rewards!" We do this with a big poster board and tape it to the kitchen cabinet. "Inside" includes things like play dough, easy crafts, simple baking, coloring, drawing, etc. "Outside" includes water balloons, sprinkler attachments (fun water games), sidewalk chalk, sand play. Even include computer games, with fun apps like "Drawsome"â"”a game that allows two or more people to draw words on iPads while the other person guesses them, wherever they are in the house or car!

To make activities even easier, create a space for a Kids Cabinet where all supplies are stored in an easy to reach place. Children can pull out tubs labeled "Paints" or "Craft supplies" so you don't have to hunt them down each time.

#3. Choose one Family Project a week. This project can be whatever is most exciting or vital to your family: clean out the garage, yard work, painting the deck railings, etc. Involve the family and split it into doable chunks. We do Yard Work I, II, and IIIâ"”sort of like a horror series, which it often feels like. But Phase I is de-cluttering the yard and eliminating garbage, messes, unused bikes, etc. Then Phase II is weeding and clearing brush and tree branches. Phase III is making it prettyâ"”planting, trimming, caring for the grass. This helps us take it in small steps to decrease the whining (by some) and still enjoy working as a family.

The most important thing is to include rewards after projects or especially working hard. Rewards can be as simple as popsicles, to bigger ones like a trip to the nearby park or a water slide.

Keeping summer fun and functional means parents and children both can enjoy a sane and somewhat productive summer!


Connie Sokol is the mother of sixâ"”expecting her seventhâ"”a regular contributor on KSL TV's "Studio 5", a speaker, former TV and radio host, and author of several books including her newest releases, Motherhood Matters, and Faithful, Fit & Fabulous. For tips, podcasts, and products visit www.conniesokol.com

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