Start Mentally Preparing Yourself Early
Summer is upon the Johnsen household as of this Wednesday and I’ve been mentally preparing myself for what is to come over the next few months. By mentally preparing I mean, coming up with a game plan for how we were going to spend our summer. Keeping three children entertained all summer will be a fulltime job itself BUT I’m confident it can be done successfully!
Take all those negative thoughts and kick them to the curb girl. I’m here to energize you about all the potential fun to be had this summer! Getting your mindset in a positive space ahead of time is key. If you start the summer on a low note you are setting yourself up for failure. Remember you are not the only mommy stressing about what in the world you’re going to do with “these kiddos” all summer?!
As my Mom always says to me, “Fake it till you make it!” Start telling yourself that “I GOT THIS” because I know you totally got this!
Start brainstorming early about how you are going to spend your summer months. When you start the summer with a plan in place it will give you peace of mind knowing that you have direction. It will also give you and your kiddos things to look forward to so you aren’t just wandering endlessly through your days. There is nothing worse than waking up with rowdy kids and thinking “holy crap, what am I going to do with them all day?!” Am I right?!
Based on my past experience, I wholeheartedly believe the best weapon of defense for surviving the summer months is to have a plan in place and stick to a schedule. It is a fact of life that children do better when on a schedule. Of course, my family’s schedule looks a little different in the summer months but not by a lot.
Planning out summer might seem ridiculous to some but, I promise it is extremely important if you want to preserve your sanity. I don’t mean plan out every second of your day but plan several fun outings or at home crafts per week. Keeping in mind that some days might not go the way you want them to.
I would start by searching the internet to see what your city has to offer in terms of festivals, summer camps, farmers markets, hike trails, kids eat free days, splash pads, parks, indoor playgrounds, children’s museums, etc. Pinterest is another great resource for the days spent at home. Yes, Pinterest is still going strong for this mom!
Just a friendly reminder that Michaels and Hobby Lobby always have great online coupons for those arts and crafts you want to try out.
I would get a calendar and mark down important dates that are what I like to call “blackout dates” for things like scheduled playdates with friends, time with grandparents, family vacations, and camps. On the off days, plan for the more flexible activities such as splash pads, museum days, arts and crafts days, etc. Plan for things that fit your family best.
Online Resources for the DFW Dwelling Moms
I have lived in the Dallas area since I was 5 years old and my city never ceases to amaze me. Dallas and the surrounding areas are constantly growing and evolving. This city still surprises me with all that it has to offer. Below are just a handful of great online resources I use and wanted to share with my fellow DFW mamas. I say handful because there is so much more out there; these were just some of my favorites!
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Kids will be kids. I have had to cut playdates short. I have had to cancel plans because one of the kids became sick overnight. I have had to leave the park because one of my kids stripped down naked and then refused to put his clothes back on. (That’s a story for a different day) My point is, life happens. Try and keep some backup plans handy for the unexpected.
I also think it’s important to know your children’s limitations and set up realistic expectations for them. I am so guilty of making well thought out excursions, like a trip to the zoo, for the kids envisioning everything to be just perfect and rarely do we leave without someone melting down. Meltdowns and toddlers go together like coffee and cream.
I don’t know about your children but it is like pulling teeth getting my younger two to leave anywhere fun. This is usually the reason for their meltdowns and the worst part is that it’s impossible to reason with a toddler. So, I end up dragging them out while they’re screaming-crying and feeling like all eyes are on me.
*Remember to take deep breaths*
In spite of the unexpected and utter chaos that can ensue, try and look at these moments in a different light. (Staying in your positive space) You can actually use your child’s bad behavior as an opportunity to teach them a valuable life lesson: that there are consequences to your actions. I know it’s hard in the middle of an embarrassing outburst from your child to think “oh, let me just use this as a teachable moment!” but, I promise the more you practice the better you will become at it!
Don’t let the bad outweigh the good. Don’t stay cooped up in your house all summer for fear of a possible meltdown and people staring. Who cares. Do what you feel comfortable managing and remember that it’s good for you and the kids to get out into the world! Go explore!
Kids are Simple Creatures
Setting high unrealistic expectations for ourselves and for our kids is something I feel we mommies have been guilty of doing at some point. And I’m here to remind you that kids are simple creatures. They are just as happy filling up water balloons and having a water balloon fight in the backyard as they are going out to get ice cream.
Have you ever noticed that babies will always gravitate to an everyday item in the house over their actual toys? I’m serious when I say that my children would rather play with pots and pans and a giant Amazon box then half the toys in our house. Why do I even buy them all this stuff?!
What children crave most is engagement. As long as your presence is felt and you are engaged with your kiddos they will be happy! Happy Kids = Happy Mama. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing this summer just focus on your family and how you can make it as fun and stressfree as possible. Most importantly, let your children take you into their world for a change. Letting them take the lead is one of the best ways to connect with your kiddos!
Keys to A Happy Summer
Start summer in a positive space. You can do this! Get as organized as possible and game plan. Get yourself a calendar. Band together with your mommy tribe and set up playdates. Set realistic expectations. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Best of all, channel your inner child this summer and have fun with your kids!