So the kids are home and your spare time just took a hit. How do you maximize your time and minimize your stress?
Google Calendar: If you're not already using it, this is a magic bullet. You can make a calendar for each family member and never miss an important lesson or meeting again. If you want a brief tutorial, send me an email and I'd be happy to walk you through the setup.
Unstructured Time: Choose a day each week that is unstructured. No lessons, /, or plans of any kind. Give yourself permission to let go for a day, and them permission to make a mess, get dirty and act like kids. You can doze on the couch and hose them off in the backyard at the end of the day.
House Care: Spread your cleaning tasks throughout the week. If you do a little bit a day, you'll never have to have a big crazy cleaning day. Remember, ABC (Always Be Cleaning)! This could also be the time to splurge on a session or two with a house cleaner, or a maintenance session with your favorite home organizer. :) Just sayin'.
Watering: Plant and lawn watering time can do double duty as fun play time in the sprinklers for the kids!
Family time: The San Mateo Fair runs from June 7th - 15th, other free things include hikes at Huddard Park, heading to Moss Beach to see the tide pools, and walking through the many wonderful neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Outdoor Time: One friend takes her kids outside as much as possible. The benefits are many - your house stays cleaner, they get to play and they are tired out by the end of the day and ready for bed. Head to your local park and let 'em run.
New Toys: Now that the kids are home more, they have more opportunities to ask for and receive new toys. This is a good time to start teach them "one in, one out". If you explain that old toys will be going to a little kid that needs it, your kids will usually be excited to share!
Craft Supplies: Stockpile an arsenal of craft supplies, books and games: you're going to hear "I'm bored!", so be prepared.
Snack Food: You'll also hear "I'm hungry" at least 1,000 times. Popcorn, veggie sticks and ranch, fruit, jello, and anything else you can make ahead (or buy already made from Trader Joe's) can be a sanity saver. The last thing you want to do is be in the kitchen on a gorgeous day.
Laundry: The kids are going to have more chances to get dirty during the summer, and that equals more laundry. Doing a load a day is an easy way to avoid having to deal with a mountain of dirty clothes on a Saturday, when you'd rather be out playing with them. That said...
Keeping Clean (or not...): Feel free to give yourself a break (while saving water, and time spent bathing and doing laundry) and let them be a little dirty this summer. Unless they've been playing in a mud puddle, most kids (and their clothes) can stand to go a day between washing and bathing.
If you have any other simple summer solutions, please leave them in the comments section!