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2 hours to get things done WITH all your kids home :: summer sanity tips

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summer sanityIt’s our first week of summer vacation. I love sleeping til I wake up (no alarm other then my 2 year old), pajamas til noon (because we can), grilling hotdogs for lunch (every single day cuz it’s SUMMER), swimming, eating too many Otter pops, and most importantly…playing with the kids. However, having all 3 kids home each and every day is a delight and a source of stress for me. You see, all the things I do while the baby naps and the older two are at school, still need my attention. I get distracted by the piles of toys that multiply like rabbits throughout the day. I get overwhelmed by double the lunch dishes. I get frustrated with the bickering. The kids eventually break me with their constant pleas to play the iPad, video games, or watch TV. In a weak moment I will let them have their electronic idols til their minds turn to mush.

Last year I read THIS post and it changed my life for the better. I could have my summer with the kids and enjoy it too. In a nutshell, this woman came up with the beautiful idea called Station Rotation. Pick 4 places in your house and create a 30 minute station. Get where this is going? 4 stations = 2 hours. 2 hours = our Charlie’s naptime. 2 hours for me keep up my responsibilities.

Our Stations

  • iPad station
  • reading station
  • TV station
  • chore station (sweeping, put clothes away, clean rooms, etc.)
  • alternate stations depending on the day (piano, outside, shoot hoops, coloring/painting, play quietly in room)

So, I just helped you get enough time back to stay sane. What else is going to fill our summer days? I personally don’t like to over-book us. Let’s be real, most of us aren’t going to get to more then maybe 2 of those great ideas we pinned. Have you made the water blob yet? Me neither, but I do still think it’s a sweet idea.

swim lessonsOur summer will include swimming, vacation time, and sleeping in. Can you tell I really like to sleep in? Sure, 8 o’clock is getting up late for me, but I pretend it’s noon like the good ol’ days when I was a teenager.

What else are we up to?

  • Library reading programs
  • Gym time (kids love their club)
  • Swim lessons
  • Finding bodies of water
  • Backyard pool fun – this is my favorite pool!
  • Playdates with friends
  • Chore Chart – kids actually beg me to make them charts (weirdos!)

Don’t forget to let them figure out things to do on their own. I love it when I find videos on my phone or I sneak up on the kids playing nicely together. Give them space to use their imaginations. I found this silly video on my phone. The kids were making a “Guardian’s of the Galaxy” movie.

Can you help me?

The biggest area I have yet to conquer with all the kids home is errands. Please comment if you have any brilliant tips. I dread going to Costco and Target (my 2 favorite stores) when I have to take all 3 kiddos. They are pretty good, but it takes longer, I need more eyeballs to keep track of them, and I know they hate shopping as much as I do. Please leave me a comment if you have shopping advice.

Have a lovely summer and stay sane!

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  • brenda disimone
    September 9, 2015 at 12:30 am

    The station rotation sounds great im going to have to try that !

  • Sean
    June 10, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I’m there with you. The biggest challenge we face is running errands as well. I’ve tried making the event a game but that failed miserably. I’m following this post to see if anyone else has fresh ideas.

    • Ginny
      June 21, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      I have learned that I either need to shop after they are in bed for the night when my husband is home or make sure my list isn’t too long. We will all get frustrated if it takes a long time. It might mean more frequent trips, but it gives me a fighting chance to survive the experience. I know it’s character building (for all of us) to power through doing things we don’t like, but I won’t torture them with too long of trips.

  • Anna Pry
    June 10, 2015 at 11:48 am

    i like the station idea, and i also dread going shopping with the kids and try to wait until i can leave them with dad instead

    • Ginny Logan
      June 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      I agree. If I have a big list, I have to go solo. Especially when I’m working through my coupons and deals.

  • Marti Tabora
    June 10, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I have found that a good idea when shopping is to give each child a specific task to do. Like have one child in charge of getting the items and putting them in the cart, another one marking the item off the list, etc. It keeps them busy and occupied. Of course it depends on the age as to what task you give them.

    • Ginny
      June 21, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      This is excellent advice! Thank you Marti!!!

  • Robin W
    June 10, 2015 at 8:18 am

    The station idea is awesome! I raised only one son and it was crazy sometimes during the summer and other “no school” times. But with or without them it takes a strong woman to do it with four kids! Keep the faith!

  • Alina
    June 10, 2015 at 7:38 am

    The one thing I can recommend while running errands, is to give them a little list each of what they can grab and put in the cart. That way everyone has a task at hand and focused.

  • Em Mahr
    June 10, 2015 at 7:12 am

    This is a great idea! I never thought about having the kids rotate through different activities, I love it!

  • Nicole Dziedzic
    June 10, 2015 at 12:52 am

    I love the idea of a Station Rotation for my kids, going to have to try this out. And i have two kids, one is three and one is six. My kids are always with me when shopping, so they do pretty good, but sometimes having a snack in my purse or letting them play a app on my phone keeps them quiet while i shop. And i love that Library reading programs is first on your list, our local library has a summer reading program yearly that we get them involved in.

  • Gina
    June 9, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Love these ideas, Ginny! Like you, I totally miss nap time in the summer! I do think I’m going to get just a bit of “homework” for the kids to do during this time.

    As for errands, we occasionally will do an errand scavenger hunt/checklist. I will type up a list with things we frequently see while at a certain store (maybe 2-3 for each section of the store–like in the produce section, they might look for apples, mangoes and star fruit) and the kids check off if they see it. I could probably get creative and do a picture one for my 2-year-old, but I haven’t quite gotten around to that lately. They just try to get as many as they can. No prizes, just something to do. A few times I’ve made it a photo search where they take pictures of what they find with my phone, but that tends to just add time to the errands. Sometimes their list matches mine so they can actually help me find what I’m looking for, but that takes a bit of prep work. I like to make a list and print it off over and over, just changing a few things every once in a while.

    • Ginny Logan
      June 12, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      This is great Gina. Thank you! I’m okay with doing a little work on the front end to make shopping easier. I prepare coupons and lists so what’s a few more. 🙂 Great tips!!!

  • Keara B.
    June 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    The stations idea is genius. I have a 4 year old and I sometimes struggle to get things done during her younger sister’s nap. (And I feel guilty plopping her down in front of the TV the entire time.) I’ll have to try this! Thanks for the fantastic idea!

    • Ginny
      June 9, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      I cannot take credit, but I can say that they work brilliantly. I know that mom guilt. Just gear those 30 minutes stations to things that she likes and you might just get a few things done!

      • Keara B.
        June 10, 2015 at 1:03 pm

        I will definitely be trying it soon. Now I just need to figure out what types of stations to do! Thanks again! 🙂

        • Ginny
          June 21, 2015 at 5:16 pm

          Best of luck! Your kids will love it. You will love the time even more! 🙂