Overcoming the summertime blues

We've all heard the dreaded words, they come every summer, "Mom, I'm so board!" How to combat the summer time blues.

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  • The last bell of the school year rings and the children burst from the building, screaming with joy that summer vacation is finally here! That lasts about one day. On day two, they come wandering into the house claiming there is nothing to do. Absolutely nothing, and they will die of boredom.

  • While your child may not succumb to an early death with that dreaded disease, boredom, he may drive you crazy getting there. Here are some fun ways to curb the summertime blues:

  • Schedule it out

  • I know, this sounds like so much fun, right? Your children thrived all year with a schedule, throwing it out now will throw off their groove. It doesn't need to be strict, or full, but it should give them a guideline for how their days will go. Here's an example:

    1. Wake up: Breakfast, dressed, clear the table

    2. Chores: Do your chores, practice your instruments

    3. Free time: Reading, or other non-electronic entertainment

    4. Lunch

    5. Friends time or family activity

    6. Dinner

  • A weekly schedule was a huge hit at our home last summer, it looked like this

    • Make it Monday: Make an art, craft, model or puzzle.

    • Travel Tuesday: Parks, Zoo's, museums, pools.

    • Weird science Wednesday: Find some strange experiment to do as a family, volcanoes were huge.

    • Free time Thursday: Everyone gets to do their own thing.

    • Fantastic fun Friday: We pick something to invite friends over to do, a water party, smores in the fire pit, etc.

  • Have a "Never a bored moment!" list

  • . Sometimes kids are too tired, or hot, to think creatively. At the beginning of summer make a list with your children of all the things they want to do, from ant farms to tree houses. Anything and everything goes on the list, post it where all can see. When they plead boredom, direct them to the list.

  • Summer Pinterest page

  • This is one way to organize all your recipes for play dough, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, amazing marshmallow concoctions, etc. Have your kids search the web for activities that they want to do and create a page just for them. Here's a fun list to get you started with homemade activities.

  • Stay-cations

  • Have you ever visited the nearest national park? Hiked the trails in your own back yard? Find your city's or county's tourism web page and see what they have to offer. You never know what you'll find in your own back yard.

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  • Home camping

  • . Maybe dad has to work or mom is not a camper. Whatever the reason, your kids can still go camping. Backyard camping has it's advantages, a close bathroom, band-aids and popsicles and air conditioning when needed. Your kids can safely enjoy the outdoors, and play house in their tent, while you run another load of laundry or relax. You can make it as fun as you want with outdoor games, a "lake" in the kiddie pool, smores, etc.

  • Outdoor cinema

  • This has to be one of our favorites. The kids get to make and pass out invites for the neighborhood kids and we obtain an old projector from a friend or move the TV into the backyard. The kids pick the flick. We pop some corn, break out the drinks and everyone brings their own blankets and pillows to watch our "walk in" movie.

  • Where in the world. Do you love to travel, but don't always have the time or money to do so? Why not give your kids a cultural experience at home? Pick a country, or place, you've always wanted to go and have your kids help you make a meal, or an experience, relating to that country.

  • Local programs

  • You can find local programs for kids everywhere from the library to the local recreation center. Everything from summer camps to outdoor movies, fairs or stories. Take a look at the local entertainment for some fun activities.

  • When you plan the summer activities for your children, if you include them in the planning they are invested in the outcome. Always remember, every moment does not need to be planned, and you are not required to be their entertainment every moment of every day. Free time is important, it allows children to develop creativity so give them plenty of it. What do you do in the summertime? Leave us some fun ideas to use at our house.

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Shannon and Erin are a mother and daughter with lots of children and Utah and Oregon roots.

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