Summer’s coming – keep those kids busy!

So, I guess since it’s almost the end of May (WHA?? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN ALREADY?), we should maybe start thinking about summer. Whenever I think about summertime and the new routine of kids being home and how it’s all going to shake out, I think of my friend, Kristen Mason. You guys are going to LOVE her if you don’t already.

I met Kristen back in the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) days pre-Bethany and Michael, when Becca was 3 or 4 and Lydia was 2ish. She was the leader of our group of Table Leaders, and was a huge encouragement to me as a mom of tiny people that life would continue at some point and my brain cells would (maybe) return. Her kids were just a couple of years older, but you could tell she wasn’t living in that perpetual state of sleep-deprivation that is evident on the faces of moms of babies and toddlers. She also didn’t have anyone in diapers, which felt to me like a Mecca I would never see.

Anyway, it was so great to be around someone who had survived toddlerhood, but who still remembered it, AND who had great tips for how we too could survive and then transition our kiddos into the next stages. I watched her continue to step out of her comfort zones and expand her crafting business, begin speaking at area MOPS meetings (If you’re anywhere in Northern Virginia and you attend a MOPS group, you’ve probably heard her speak), and eventually launch a website focused on parenting, learning, and purposeful living. She has been a personal inspiration – someone who’s had dreams and has chased after them well.

The reason I bring her up as we approach summer is because of her FABULOUS site called Busy Kids, Happy Mom. She has so much great stuff there; you really must check it out. One of my favorite things is her program of “Summer Points“. It’s basically a way to make (and keep!) a doable plan for your summer. You set up certain tasks/chores/accomplishments for your kids (or you) to achieve over the summer and assign them a point value. When the family/kid get to certain point values, there are rewards.

What I like about the Summer Points is that she has so many great ideas for helping the summer not just get to the “I’m bored” phase super quickly. She’s trained as a teacher, so she has great resources and idea on how to keep up summer learning. We’ve used summer points to encourage learning a new skill – like using the stove for cooking a meal. For that kind of thing, I highly recommend her Life Skills lists. These have been so helpful to me when figuring out what kids of jobs the kids can do around the house.  There are also great suggestions on there for when your kids developmentally can do certain things. Definitely check it out here – Life Skills List.

Through her inspiration, over past summers, my girls have planned the menu for dinners and dessert and then cooked/baked them, memorized scripture, read different genres of books, learned to mow the lawn, learned to ride their bikes, improve swim times, and more. We’ve “earned” family overnights in a hotel, trips to the movies or baseball games, family game nights, and downtown adventures.

I hope you check out Kristen’s resources – they really will inspire you and give you practical tools (that actually work!) to survive your summer and come out the other side having experienced some great things as a family.

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