The past few months have been particularly taxing on young children and their parents. Ditto for teachers who have been trying to virtually teach, often having to homeschool their own children.
Before you know it, school will be out for the summer and many parents will still be home with their children — in many cases not having “normal” summer activities available as resources. The sooner you come up with a summer plan, the better.
Set some goals. Depending on the ages of your children, goals and expectations for each child will be different. Reach out to your child’s teacher for suggestions. Most children have a summer reading list, so if you already have that, go ahead and order the books.
Get supplies for summer activities. Stock up on crayons, markers, pens, notebooks, paint and other crafty supplies. When our four children were young, I had a giant craft box where I kept everything. Especially on rainy days, that craft box came in handy. Collect various “crafty” items and encourage your children to be creative.
Plan for outdoor activities. With all of the lockdown orders being lifted, hopefully we can all get outdoors and soak in the fresh air and sunshine. Your back yard or front yard also work.
Set up a baby pool, turn on that sprinkler, haul out any sporting equipment you have, and encourage children to play outside. If your child needs a new bicycle, don’t wait until Christmas — now is the perfect time to get outside and peddle away.
Start a family book club for the summer. Choose a book or a series everybody will enjoy. Maybe re-read the entire Harry Potter series. I loved reading my all-time favorite childhood series, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” series with our two girls when they were young.
Learn a new language together. Whether it is Spanish, French or Japanese, have fun learning some of the basics in another language.
Your children will love learning the days of the week, numbers, and the months of the year in another language. There are numerous online programs and other resources to help you get started.
Keep cooking. Everybody I know has been cooking more than they ever have before. Try incorporating foods that might otherwise not be in your regular rotation.
With your children, learn how to make sushi, pasta or bread. Don’t worry if your first attempts are not perfect. For years I was intimidated about making homemade pasta. Once I tried it, I found it is simple to do and a fun activity.
Make a schedule. Of course summer usually means more down time, young children still benefit when they have a schedule.
Even if you will be spending more time at home, try to have everybody on some sort of a schedule. Waking up at the same time, eating meals and snacks at scheduled intervals, reading regularly, doing schoolwork at certain times, etc. I recommend even scheduling free time.
Tackle some household projects. Perhaps you need to clean out the garage, a storage room or the attic. Get everybody in on the action and offer a reward when the project is done.
Years ago we finally got around to cleaning out our attic. It was a huge job — one we had been putting off for years.
After hauling every single thing out of the attic and thoroughly cleaning the space, we went through 20-plus years of stuff. Much of it got boxed up and was donated. What remained we sorted, cleaned and boxed up in airtight plastic containers. I labeled all of them for future needs.
I can’t wait until our children can share their childhood treasures with their own children.
Summer will be here before you know it, so make a plan now so you are prepared.
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.