The summer season is like a time warp if you have kids. All of a sudden, these little ones that used to consistently be somewhere else for seven hours every day are now home. Depending on your work situation, you might be in close quarters more frequently than you were when school was in session.
No matter how much you enjoy spending the extra time with your children, it’s an indisputable fact that schedules will have to be adjusted. Boredom will need to be accounted for. Messes will need to be cleaned. Noise-canceling headphones will need to be purchased.
Luckily, there are some organizational tips that can keep you sane. They won’t completely remove the craziness from your life – but think of it as a softer, more manageable crazy. With a little bit of time and creative
manipulation ingenuity, you might even get the kids on board.
1) Create boredom busters
Many problems in life can be rooted back to somebody being bored. Are your kids screaming in the background of your Zoom meeting? Did your daughter decide to cut her own bangs? These are classic signs of boredom.
Whether you’re working full-time or a stay-at-home parent, it’s impossible to keep your child occupied all the time. That’s why creating boredom busters that you can use on the fly is such a great idea. Work with your kids to put ideas on scraps of paper or popsicle sticks that will keep their attention, like: “Draw a picture of yourself as a dog,” or “Create your own board game.”
The most effective way to do this is to use ideas that align with your kid’s interests. Place your ideas in a jar or container and have the kids decorate it. When you notice the tell-tale signs of boredom, have them pull out a boredom buster idea.
2) Game-ify chores.
Being home for the summer means doing chores. It’s a good way to create structure and stop your home from becoming a disaster throughout the day. Getting your child to actually do the chores is not for the faint of heart, though.
One way to encourage them to do chores is with incentives. Create a fun wheel or colorful calendar where you can track their efforts and create rewards, like screen time or money. If you have more than one kid, add in an element of competition for a grand prize at the end of the day. Put that semester of Behavioral Psychology to good use.
3) Create an organization system.
If you want your home to stay moderately organized throughout the day, you need to make it easy. Create a system for items so they can stay easily organized. Toys, games, books, and art supplies can all have their own containers that are clearly labeled so there isn’t a question about where things go. Let them stay in the place they are most often used. Try to use clear containers so the kids can see what’s in a container before they pull everything out.
4) Structure the day out.
Setting a plan out for the entire day will make it easier for you and the kids to coexist during the summer. Make a detailed plan of what kids should be doing for each hour of the day and display it on an easel or tape it on the wall. Have a digital clock with big numbers so they can clearly identify what time it is. Most importantly, try to stick to whatever plan you have in place. Over time, it will become automatic for them.
These tips won’t suddenly give you a pristine and quiet home with minimal effort. But they will give you some more leverage when you’re trying to stop a temper tantrum or keep your floors from being overrun with plastic blocks. On an overwhelming day, that can keep you afloat.