Children and teachers everywhere have been waking up lately with big smiles on their faces. Depending on the situation, many parents are also happy.
The month of May is so stressful for all involved, most moms I know are just glad it is behind them.
Parents have to juggle a million end-of-the-school-year activities, parties and award ceremonies. And since seemingly every child gets an award for something nowadays, there are many of those events.
Teachers are particularly slammed during May. And imagine their added stress if they have their own children, who also have a million activities.
Even children can have stress during May as they finish projects, papers and take finals.
Then it happens. The last day of school arrives.
I well remember when our four children were young and that magical day (which felt like the longest of the year) arrived.
After spending most of my day at one or two schools, we all finally piled in the car and headed home for summer break. So many years we also left the next day for summer vacation at the beach.
What in the world was I thinking and why did nobody shake me and say, “At least give yourself a few days to unwind before leaving for vacation.”
All mothers (and women in general) know that when it comes to packing/planning for vacation, the majority of the work falls squarely on mama’s lap.
For me, that meant after all of the before-mentioned craziness of May, I had to plan and pack for the six of us — and make sure the pets were taken care of, stop the mail, etc.
We always rented places with full kitchens to cut down on the cost of feeding so many mouths, but that also meant I had to plan the meals, do the shopping, and pack any kitchen tools I doubted the rental home would have.
When the children were quite young, or babies, there was the added packing of pack-and-play cribs, high chairs and/or booster seats, sippy cups, bottles, baby food, etc.
Still, I have such fond memories of summers with our children. Thank goodness we tend to block out the bad stuff.
All of those trips to Lake Lanier, pool parties, grilling out, gardening with the kids (which held their interest for about 10 minutes) and going to the beach with my parents.
There also was sleeping a bit later (always early risers in our family, so not too much later), staying outside and trying to catch lightening bugs, watching fireworks, going barefoot, fishing, camping and making s’mores in the fire pit. I could go on and on.
I also love the smells and sounds of summer — freshly cut grass, flowers everywhere, children splashing in the water, birds chirping, cicadas making their noises. I even love the sound of lawn mowers.
Of course, I do remember the novelty of summer wearing off. Whether you have one child or five, there is usually someone who has a bit of a short attention span.
That child is the one who typically begins the domino effect of the “I’m bored” litany. Hopefully, no readers with young children have heard this mantra yet, but it’s coming at some point.
This is a good time to plan for those moments in order to head them off at the pass.
Of course, the Internet is a great resource to find craft ideas, games, and even educational projects to keep little minds and hands occupied. Set aside some time now to gather ideas and supplies.
Our awesome libraries are also terrific resources. All of them have excellent programs for children of all ages.
I was just at the library and I heard the announcement, “It’s Movie Monday, so everybody please go get ready for the movie to begin.” What a great idea — and it is free.
Lastly, try not to keep the children so busy that they don’t know the meaning of those “lazy days of summer.” Everybody needs down time and time to just relax.
Try to make the children “unplug” during the day as well. At least for a period of time. I would tell everyone else to unplug too, but that would be hypocritical.
I wish everyone a safe and happy summer.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.