Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summertime Suggestions

Summer days out of school always bring questions about how to keep kids occupied. Toss in the extra "challenges" of visiting stepkids and you can wind up with a scheduling horror show! Here are a couple of time-tested ideas - THEN I'd like for you to share your own suggestions to help out other steppers this Summer.

1) Keep to a schedule. Even though it's school-out time, your family still needs some rules. Don't let your kids fall into the trap of just laying around, waiting for school to start back. Give any kid a chance and he or she will end up wasting their vacation with boredom.

Chores have to be done all year round, right? So kids need to be held to their responsibilities all year round, too. Instead of weekly timetables (Monday: take out trash; Wednesday: gather laundry; etc), set hourly deadlines during Summer days (have trash out by 1:00 on Monday; have laundry gathered by 10:00 am on Wednesday; etc). This will help your young'uns to have a sense of structure in their days.

2) Try time-sharing with another parent. One week, take their kids on, say, at Tuesday afternoon. The next week they take your kids for an afternoon. Both parents get a free day; while you also get the "bonus" of extra kids one day. Why is this a bonus? As most parents have discovered, it's often easier to ride herd on a few extra kiddos. They tend to keep each other's attention distracted from you.

Plan a busy activity for your day with the gang. Take them to the park, the beach, the zoo, the kid-friendly museum, etc. You'll probably have a much easier day if you plan it right, even with the extra noses to wipe.

3) Take time for yourself! Use that free afternoon to pamper yourself. Don't just do your chores or pay bills. Get a massage. Take a nap. Visit your best friend. Read a book at the pool or beach.

Your family depends on you to keep yourself in good shape. You need time to yourself to do that. This is not selfish if you do it with a purpose. Focus on recharging your batteries or renewing your inner peace.

4) Now, what is YOUR Summer-time suggestion? Don't be selfish. Take a minute to reply with your own helpful hint for other stepparents this Summer.

God bless y'all!
Bob C. - STEPcoach

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