Let's face it summer vacation isn't always what it's cracked up to be!
That's right I said it. We all look forward to the warm weather and kids to be out of school so we can do whatever we want and have some down time. But bored kids, heat waves and summer play dates can get on all our nerves. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy my children having summer play dates but there are times when these play dates are a little more stressful than they need to be. It could be because I just need to pick new playdate buddies but still my house my rules right!
That's why I've decided that I would create a summer play date survival guide! My top 5 tips to summer sanity are finally here!
1. Have a Plan
So many times we let our kids have play dates yet we have no plan for the day. Without a plan the kids end up arguing with each other which in turn makes you want to pull your hair out!
Before your play date even begins have a plan. Come up with an easy craft or maybe a fun recipe the kids can help you with. You don't need to have the whole day scheduled but at least have a couple of activities planned for those moments when things go from calm to crazy!
A few of my favorites are a picnic lunch and let them make the sandwiches or I set up a mini buffet in the house and let them fly at it. Another fun activity is painting rocks outside – which you probably saw in a previous post of mine! I also have a few art supplies on hand to make cards, you would be surprised at how much fun kids have making a card for their parents.
2. Say No!
Don't be afraid to say no to a play date. Someday's we just aren't in the mood to entertain other children. If you come across one of these days, it's ok to say no! Let your kids know that mommy is busy or just not feeling up to it and plan it for another day.
Sometimes it is easier to let the kids have a playdate and let them know you won't be here for entertainment and that they are responsible for themselves. Obviously when it comes to safety you aren't going to ignore them but really other than some crazy situation they might get themselves into the chances of you having to attend to them is slim to none. You might also have to give yourself permission to let go just a little in order to let this happen!
3. Set a Schedule
Most parents are great about asking the host what time to pick up their children. However, let's be honest, some parents don't bother to ask or they show up hours late. Entertaining longer than you expect is never fun, especially if you already have plans. Before the parent even leaves your home let them know what time you would like their child picked up.
Most of the time I know the parents so it isn't a big deal but I make sure to let them know that the time isn't flexible as wel have other obligations. But I am pretty straight forward and to the point when it comes to most things so they know to take me seriously when I say something. Remember you aren't free babysitting and they need to show just as much respect as you would in a reverse situation.
4. Set Ground Rules
I'm sure you have rules in your home that your children are expected to follow. Let your children's guest know up front what the ground rules are. I'm not saying you should sit them down and go over every rule but at least let them know the basics. Letting the kids no upfront what is not okay will save you a lot of frustration.
I love to let the kids coming for the playdate know the house rules for example if you're hungry ask, show respect and keep your hands to yourself. I really don't ask for much from other kids that aren't my own but I don't want to feel like I am babysitting the whole time they're around. Also if it is a sleepover I make sure to let the kids know my expectations on bed times and that it is ok if they can't fall asleep as long as they are in bed with their quiet voices or reading a book. You would be surprised at how well kids respond to structure, try it you have nothing to lose.
5. Have Fun!
Play dates are meant to be fun and not stressful. Encourage the kids to play and use their imagination. If the kids are playing independently, use this time to kick your feet up and read a book. After all as a busy Mom we don't have much time to relax or get something done that we keep putting off like folding laundry. Self care is one of the most important things to remember during the summer months because with the kids around ALL the time we forget about ourselves easily. Give yourself permission to kick back and relax, take in a few rays and just be.
That wraps up my top 5 summer sanity tips. Keep an eye out for more fun articles to come all summer long! Remember to keep things simple because we need our sanity this summer to it should be about rest and relaxation. As a quick reminder my top 5 tips are:
- Have a Plan
- Say No!
- Set A Schedule
- Set Ground Rules
- Have Fun!
I would love to hear some of your summer sanity tips for surviving a summer play date! Do you take it as a challenge, are you relaxed, or do your kids take on the responsibility themselves?
Check out our other Summer Sanity posts: