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Sanity in the Summer

"Sanity In The Summer - Is It Possible?" by Valerie Zilinsky

Parents across the country are gearing up for the inevitable... the last day of school. I personally am looking forward to a much-needed break from the long drive to and from school each day, packing lunches, getting stains out of school uniforms, and the nickel-and-diming of school fundraisers. Of course, I always am looking forward to the last day of school by this time each spring.

But without a doubt, it'll happen no later than July 1st... When my lovely children are ripping out each other's hair, and I'm pulling out my own quickly-multiplying gray hairs, I'll be counting down the days until school begins once again. 

It's not that I don't love my children. I adore them! But they bore easily. And when they are bored, they happen to find my bulging eyes and red face and loud voice rather amusing. They get joy out of making each other say "Ouch!" or being chased out of their sibling's bedroom. They laugh hysterically while they run back & forth through the living room, causing the dog to bark frantically while I'm trying to handle an important
phone call.

I'm sure there are many of you out there nodding your heads, envisioning your little angels in a few short weeks when they've already methodically played with every toy in their bedroom and left them in the most strategic places - yes, *those* places, where you will either step on them, spraining your ankle, or they will end up in the washing machine. Klunk, klank, klink......thud. Cashing in their saved-up allowances to buy a replacement washing machine should keep them busy for a while, right?

So what can we do to survive the boredom blues that our children are sure to experience this summer? Here are a few helpful ideas and resources that I'll be resorting to soon enough. I hope this helps you out also:

* Check local churches for Vacation Bible Schools. These usually last 1-2 weeks, just a few hours each day, and are very reasonably priced. In addition to learning about religion and good values, kids will do crafts, play games, sing songs, and make new friends.

* Call your local parks and recreation department to get a schedule of summer classes and trips. Go on nature hikes and/or fly kites.

* Take the dog to a dog park.

* Even if you have a pool and/or a playscape in your yard, opt for a public pool or playground in hopes of your children making new friends. Who knows? You just might make some new friends too - other local parents!

* Go to local cultural events, such as fairs and festivals, art museums, zoos, science centers, etc.

* Visit your library and check their calendar for summer activities, most of which are usually free. While you're their, check and see if they have an "adopt a shelf" program. Your kids, with your help, can adopt a bookshelf that they would be responsible for over the summer, keeping it neat and organized.

* Try these websites for ideas:
~ http://www.TheIdeaBox.com
~ http://www.MakingFriends.com
~ http://www.Cybersurfari.org
~ http://www.SummerCamp.org

* Now would be a great time to check out those music or dance lessons that your child has been asking about all school year.

* Many shopping malls have free kids shows and activities, and many book stores have weekly story hours and/or craft times.

* If you can find one close enough to drive to, go to a drive-in for a double feature on a summer evening. Visit DriveInMovie.com for a list of locations.

* On really hot days, or really rainy days, get out of the house and enjoy the cool comfort of a matinee at the movie theater. 

* Break out the home movies from your childhood, and let your kids laugh at your poor fashion and funky hairstyles.

As a last resort, I plan to send my kids into their bedrooms with the mission of cleaning out under their beds. That should occupy them for a few days at least!

About The Author
Valerie Zilinsky is a mother of two and webmaster of RaisingOurKids.com the Internet destination for parents to reach out to each other regarding gender-specific parenting issues. Made up of RaisingADaughter.com and RaisingASon.com, the sites provide articles on every stage of childhood as well as an active community area. Visit RaisingOurKids.com for more support on showing your kids that you love them everyday.