Sane Summer Fun

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

It’s that time again—popsicles, playtime, and perpetually tired moms trying
to find the balance between fun and functional. Here are a few tips to do

#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

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 later—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”—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

#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 III—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 pretty—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 six—expecting her seventh—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

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