Looking back at summer goals for 2014

I found this post in my “drafts” section but felt it would really benefit young moms so I edited it and am sharing it today.

MOM!!! I’m bored!!! I have nothing to do!!!”

Seriously???!!!! Cause…I’m finally relaxed….

There is no syllabus to check. No objectives to monitor. I’m not checking spelling words or helping memorize poetry stanzas. I’m not punching a time clock. I’m imagining days in the sun…drinking lemonade…and riding a bike. =)

The notoriety of “basking in the sun” does not last long. My kids can only handle about two weeks of sleeping in; playing outside for endless hours; and no schedule.

 How can they be bored when they have soooo much? and by soooo much, I mean…there is SOOOOO MUCH on the floor, scattered around  the basement, shoved in their closets. How can you NOT think of anything to do?

Because…there is too much time. Too many empty pockets of nothingness.

I have realized that I too can waste so much time if I don’t have an agenda for the day…a plan, a thing to do list so that I have a focus. So…I figured that this summer will be about giving my kids’ a daily “focus”. I know there will be times when “bored” will re-enter but I hope to keep that at bay.

 As a homeschool mom, I’m wrapping up my daughter’s portfolio and reflecting on a great year. I can take off the “teacher” hat for a while and be the playful mom that I want to all year. Although, I love the schedule aspect of the school year, the summer makes fewer demands and is a welcomed break from the checklists of homeschooling. However, there are sooooo many educational “goals” that encompass our school year, that the summer is a great time to work on personal, moral, and social goals for my children. It’s a chance to “refocus” and ask myself….where do I want my family to be heading??? What areas are my children struggling in? How are we doing in our lives as Christians?

So my plan is to attack about 5 “problem areas/personal goals” in my family…..areas that lose “attention” during the school months and I can “work on” during the summer while we conquer our Summer Bucket List.

1.) Being good stewards of all we are given.

I often talk to the children about being “good stewards” in regards to the way they keep their room; spend their money; and treat their toys. I want my children to recognize that we should appreciate all that we have. That is our duty to keep our rooms clean; to clean up our messes; to not write on all our stuff. I know that my children do not NEED for anything but are blessed with soooo much. A big lesson for the kids every year is preparing our summer garden. God has blessed us with a yard that we can grow our own vegetables and share with with our neighbors. It’s our responsibility to take care of our garden. The children help me plant and pick our vegetables; water the plants; and make good decisions in regards to playing away from our growing plants.  In addition, I believe that being a good steward is not wasting stuff either. I’m not a member of the “clean plate” club, but nothing gets me more upset that seeing kids fight for the “last nugget” when they have something on their plate. “Be happy with what you have” seems to be something I hear myself say often.
Additionally, here are some items that we may add to the list this summer:

  • collecting can goods in the neighborhood and raiding our pantry for food for the local food bank.
  • I have stopped our regular house cleaners, and the kids will take on more household chores for the summer.
  • We will be buying a fish and showing the kids how to take responsibility for this pet.
  • regular picking of veggies from our garden
  • the children will continue their purge of their toys in the basement. We will spend the summer reorganizing their storage space for their toys and offering those less fortunate their stuff they are not using.
  • the children enjoy several family car washes over the summer. It’s a great excuse for getting wet and yet showing appreciation for our family van. The children and I spend time cleaning out the van, vacuuming the inside, and scrubbing the outside.
  • running a lemonade stand; teaching them to work for their money

2.) Recognizing the power of teamwork/working together.

Teamwork is such an important facet for all children to learn. It’s a skill that started with their sports teams this school year and will continue with our summer activities. Whenever the kids and I go anywhere, we “buddy” them up. We often reward the children’s “group” based on best behavior, or their ability to compromise and work great without complaining. This summer is a great opportunity to mix it up a bit and pair different kids together. It helps the children to find strengths in each other. Ideas for this summer are:

  • family games of soccer, basketball and tag.
  • pairing the kids together to complete household chores that are tough or time consuming
  • working together to make a family movie
  • family Olympics/obstacle course
  • selecting pairs of kids to have activities together so they can work on their interactions 

3.) Establishing positive attitudes/respectful behavior.

Frustration……yep…..my three year old has really gotten out of control. Bold “no”s; totally ignoring directions; and complete destruction tend to be “on the menu” for this little phase of her childhood. She appears frustrated a lot and has essentially made me frustrated during MOST of my dealings with her. She antagonizes her little sister and is also antagonized herself by her older brother.Today, I was watching Sweet Pea’s soccer game. Mini Me could NOT handle the fact that the snack bar was closed and therefore could not buy a cold drink. This general frustration of being thirsty led to a huge temper tantrum complete with holding my leg as I dragged her body down the sidelines to watch the game.

Been there, done that, right??!!

If not….just wait…it’s so….humiliating.

The loss of control……overwhelming.

My children tend to enjoy needling each other and just regular bickering. With less schoolwork to keep them occupied, these first few weeks of summer seem to be a breeding ground for teasing and poking fun at each other. Additionally, I am being blessed with the ever-so-lovely, “because I wanted to”…..or the not to be underrated, “I don’t know…”

Eye rolls, yelling, and screaming.OH MY!

My family is open and honest about expressing our feelings and making the children feel “heard”. However, we do not tolerate talking back; hurtful words or glances toward each other; or screaming or yelling.  This summer will be about spending a lot of time reminding them how awesome each of them are. We will have several rules “re-inforced” in our home that everyone seems to have forgotten:

  • No Yelling
  • No negative comments or making serious fun of another siblings
  • answering the first time they are called
  • reminding the kids of other ways to handle their anger: going to their room for a few minutes; counting to ten; walking away from something that is upsetting them;communicating their frustration and finding an adult when they have exhausted all options.

4.) Making a positive impression as Christians.

Our society, as a whole, is not very supportive of big families. It hurts my heart when I see the looks that my children get when we go out to lunch or dinner. People equate children with noise; rudeness; and food messes.  Our dinner etiquette starts with the lessons at the table: please and thank you; polite passing of food; remaining seated; and proper use of your napkin. Our kids are taught that when they can exhibit good behavior at home that we can then feel confident in their ability to go out to eat. I wrote a blog about a recent visit to Panera here.

Depicted below, are some photos of a trip the kids and I took to a lunch buffet near our doctor’s office. It was an impromptu trip when our doctor’s appt was significantly longer than expected. You should have seen the looks……one gentlemen even came up to my table, counted my kids and then said, “5! wow?!”


I also had the priviledge of having several older women applaud me for taking out my kiddos complementing them as “well behaved” and ” so pleasant”. When my children are out, we are called to bring Christ to others, as Christians. I like to remind my children often, that in order to change society’s view on children, we need to be positive witnesses to how great it is to have a big family. I believe that our family can continue to be a positive influence on others this summer by:

  • showing respect and courtesy as we wait in line at amusement parks like Six Flags, Dorney Park, and Hershey
  • leaving thoughtful notes, as well as a tip, for our servers at our favorite restaurants
  • enjoying our usual outings as a family
  • doing little acts of service like holding open doors for strangers, and returning the carts for customers at the grocery store 

5.) Teaching and exhibiting self-control, patience, and other virtues.

This is pretty self-explanatory. The summer is all about taking turns and learning to share. My kids will learn plenty of patience as they wait their turn getting sunscreen applied; or have to wait to enter the pool after an “incident”.

They will be reminded of being prudent and how what we say and when we say it can hurt others. They will be asked to guard their words and show kindness in the midst of arguing and frustration.

Most of all, they will be reminded to be compassionate. To reach out to those hurting around them, whether it be someone in their own family, or someone in the community.

Wishing you much success in your own Summer goals!!

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