Thursday, May 28, 2009

chores and summer vacation

I recently read a post by Good Fountain about summer vacation and maintaining a schedule. She asked people to give suggestions on how best to structure the long, hot days of summer. And now that I have lived through about 5 hours of the first day of summer vacation, I realize I need some help, too. Desperately.

Let me give you a glimpse of our first day of vacay:

It is really overcast and a bit drizzly, so we have spent the morning inside the house. It all started quite nicely with Charlotte and Danny playing well together and eating their breakfasts in peace. The peace and harmony, however, did not last. Danny got a time-out, and now after many more time-outs in the last few hours, I can't even remember what that one was for. Possibly for yelling at me, which he has done a lot today. Anyway, while in a time-out, he proceeded to tear apart his room, pushing his mattress on the floor, pulling out toys, etc.

The kids wanted a video, but I insisted that they get dressed and do some chores first. Charlotte cooperated beautifully: she got dressed and helped me clean up the entire family room. Danny, on the other hand, got really angry and refused to get dressed. He finally began cleaning up the mess he had made in his room, but yelled almost the entire time. When he realized I wouldn't help him clean while he yelled, he finally shut up. But, he still refused to get dressed, so he didn't get to watch the video. Throughout the morning, he got at least two more time-outs for yelling at me.

Later, it was Charlotte's turn to act up. She said she wanted Cheerios for lunch, so I gave them to her. For some inexplicable reason, she got upset and asked for more Cheerios. Since she had plenty, I refused since I knew she wouldn't be able to eat any more than I had given her. Well, My darling girl was annoyed, so she purposely tipped over her bowl onto the table. After her long time-out, she decided that instead of the Cheerios, she wanted a hot dog. I said that she had to finish the Cheerios first, since I had already poured the milk on them, per her request, and I am sick to death of wasting food. This time, she got angry and threw the bowl on the floor. She is now in time-out and has been for a good 15 minutes.

All this has happened in just 4.5 short hours. I wonder what the rest of the day will bring.

So, here's my question for you:
How do you structure your days in the summer and what kinds of chores do you make your kids do? I could use some advice here, in case that wasn't already obvious.


Amy Jane said...

Oh, Patty - you've had quite a day. I'm so sorry. I don't really have any advice as to how to structure your summer - I'm wondering about that myself. Nick will be in summer school during the mornings for the next three weeks, so I don't really have to worry about it until we get back from our trip to VA at the beginning of July - but then I'll have a month and a half before school starts! Nick is a pathetic sickie today - fever, feels yucky, just sleeping on the couch all day. Poor kid missed his very first day of summer school!

carrie c said...


funny you wrote this post today. josh and i were just discussing today about how to keep the kids under control this summer and prepare them for baby #3. ahhhh! i've got nothing! i am just going to try to keep them busy and have things to do every day...t-ball, baseball, swim team, PLAYGROUP, and eventually hanging pool-side at the community pool. other than that i have no idea. today my sanity flew out the window. i guess just don't sweat the small stuff? if you come up with any great ideas on getting the kids to get along with one another, complete their chores w/o arguing and in a timely manner, or if you have any activity ideas, please fill me in. i am clueless.


Stonefox said...

Patty, I need help too! This is the question of the day, week, summer, and we need answers fast! Daniel has one more week of school and I am absolutely terrorized at the thought of this summer. HELP!

Denise said...

I am noticing that we are ALL in the same situation. Maybe I should post a HELP ME plea to my readers too (but you have more) and we can compare and make up some plan to conquer the summer. We'll just hang out a lot and not kill them, right!

goodfountain said...

What you described is exactly what I envision happening if I don't have some kind of plan.

Or maybe the better word here is routine.

I think when school lets out I'm going to create a Summer Morning Routine for Charlottte and Sarah. I'll write it out and hang it on fridge. Charlotte loved our morning routine for this past year and referenced if often.

One of the main things in the routine is going to be getting dressed before coming downstairs. If everyone isn't dresses first thing, it's like pulling teeth to get it to happen.

Besides the routine, the other thing I'm gonna try is going over the plans for the next day the night before. Charlotte likes that anyway - she's always asks me at bedtime to "talk about the places" for the next day.

I feel like keys to success are going to be (I hope) - getting dressed right away and keeping them focused on what we're doing. If we're doing nothing - they can just play and do whatever - but if we have to go out - get focused.

It's kinda more work on me to do that, but I'm hoping that it's worth the effort!

Let me know if you try anything out. I still have TWO MORE WEEKS till school is out!

Mrsbear said...

My husband creates a schedule every summer, but somewhere around week two my resolve always fades. It's just as hard for me to maintain the discipline of a routine during summer as it is for them. Then there's the inevitable boredom, the lousy weather, the sibling wars. Ugh. Generally we assign certain duties to the kids - dusting, sweeping, dishes, toy clean-up - it gets easier the more they do them and realize they don't have an option. Eventually it becomes less of a struggle. Same thing with the food issues, the more food choices I offer my kids the more likely it is that they'll reject it or want to switch half way through or whatever. Instead I say "this is what I'm giving you, eat it". It's going to be a long summer though...

Sarah said...

Both Emma and Jack only have a week off before summer school starts back up for 6 weeks. Then I have them enrolled in camp and swimming lessons a few times a week. I visual schedule is an excellent idea....and have them give you suggestions. They will then take ownership in the activities.

I know watching TV isn't an option :)

Elizabeth Channel said...

Ergh. That sounds frighteningly familiar...

HeatherPride said...

Oh my gosh, we had a heck of a week this week too! Logan got many, many time outs yesterday. I am hoping for a better week next week!

Anonymous said...

Last summer we ended up writing out 3 absolute rules for each kid. They were different for each one and we wrote (or drew) them and put them on a closet door for everyone to see. This didn't necessarily help with keeping them occupied...but they were 3 things they knew they had to work on and knew what the consequence would be for doing questions or no arguing.