Summer is almost here for my family. This year my husband has a sabbatical, so he will be off the same time our kids are. For us this will be a very relaxed, non-alarm summer (except for church of course). We have some fun trips planned, that are different from our normal summers.
Most of our summers look the same. Some things wait until daddy gets off work so we can make memories as a family. We love to paddleboard, camp, go on bike rides, have family room sleep-overs (this is the whole family) and more. Every summer we make a Zfam adventure list and a Reading Challenge chart. (These are on a poster board and hung on our back door). Our adventures are determined by the whole family, some don’t make the list as they are too expensive or unrealistic. The above mentioned things are on the list along with reading, swimming, s’mores, and playing games. If you decide to do a list tailor it to your family.
So of course with the reading challenge I have a reward system. I decide how many books I want my kids to read over the summer. Each book has to be pre approved for how much it’s worth. I have some very avid readers in my family, so a 5th grade level book for my child who reads at a 9th grade level is worth a ¼ of a sticker; none of the books are worth more than 1 sticker. The chart has each child’s name on it with 4 sections: 2 books-4 books-6 books-8 books. Below each section is a prize like ice cream or going out to dinner(this is our final prize). So the other stipulation is, no reward is given until all 5 kids reach each goal. (They can continue reading more books and adding it to their chart towards the next goal). My children are very encouraging to each other with this challenge. I like this challenge since it gives me a chance to get some reading in during our time off.
I believe in making life an adventure. This is a year round thing. We go for walks, sing, and play I spy. When we go for a car ride that is more than 20 minutes, I act like it is a long way away so everyone needs some water and a little snack. During time off around holidays we always sleep in the family room a few times, play games, and act like the clock doesn’t matter. We have fairly strict bedtimes during school, but in summer midnight is always an option=). Of course you need to take about a week before school starts again to re-train the kids that bedtime is important. No matter what you do, have fun and remember the little things can leave lasting impressions and great memories.