The best way to avoid the “I’m bored” syndrome is to keep your children anticipating events. Fill in events and post them where your child(ren) can see. Cross off the days gone, putting large smiley faces on special days. With the days ticked off, your child(ren) can readily count how many days until the next anticipated event.
After you have blocked out vacation time, holidays, and reunions, things to consider putting on the calendar as regular days (2-3 times per week, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) could include:
Going to a lake
Going to grandma’s
Have a lemonade stand / bake sale (use the day before to shop for ingredients and prepare signs and decorations)
Bike rides as a family
Launch a rocket (build the model the day before)
work on scouting together
When calendaring, be sure to schedule in your own events: spa days, lunch with friends, a yard sale, etc. Also, allow plenty of free days where they play with their friends in the neighborhood without you having to plan for them. However, sometimes it is helpful to have some suggestions ready:
Water fight (have balloons and water guns on hand)
Hide ‘n seek
Blanket forts (for rainy days)
Sleep out in the backyard
Create a clubhouse from a large box
Soccer, kick ball, etc. in the backyard
Put on a play / puppet show
Make puppets for above
Hopscotch (draw out on paper, they transfer to driveway with chalk)
Jump rope with a long jump rope (teach them some rhymes—they’ll love having you there)
Science experiments (find books at the library)
Build models (rainy days)
have a spa day with their friends (facials and paint nails etc.)
After your calendar is complete, consider the daily schedule. Start with a family breakfast. Sit down together; have a family prayer; talk about the day’s events ahead; and read from the scriptures. Keep it short—the sun is coming up and their anticipation for the day is mounting.
Have a job chart and schedule time for them to complete their jobs each day. Although it is summer vacation, if they do not have work to balance out the play, they will become bored more quickly. Each child should have 3-4 age appropriate tasks to complete each morning. Break the big jobs (cleaning a bathroom) into smaller jobs done throughout the week by different siblings (wash the sinks, clean the tub, shine the mirrors, disinfect all handles, faucets, doorknobs, light switches etc.) Save the jobs that have to be done well (toilets) for older children or yourself. Change up the job chart every few weeks to keep it novel.
Finish the day peacefully to help them transition from excitement to sleep. Stick with a bed time, bedtime routine, and family dinners whenever possible. During dinner talk about their days, discuss what went well, what didn’t, and what they’d like to change or keep. Don’t talk too much about scheduled events; it will get them wound up again. Save that for breakfast. After they have been able to tell you about their days, their minds will relax easier. Finish the day by reading a story to your children while they snuggle in their beds.
If you plan your summer, include jobs, and begin and end the days with a routine, your children will be much less likely to become bored. I hope you enjoy the summer holidays and rejoice in being a family.