School is out for us this week! Yay! It’s tempting to sleep in, relax, and do absolutely nothing. That’s fine, for a short while. But experience tells me that if I don’t set some summer goals, we will waste three months. And if your kids are like mine, by the end of three months, everyone will feel slightly entitled to a lifestyle of luxury.
I don’t know about you, but that’s something I want to avoid.
If you’re looking to have a productive, yet still relaxing, summer, here are 8 steps to help you get started.
1. Write Down Your Schedule. Whether you use a paper calendar or an online calendar, make sure you have all of your commitments written down. This will give you a rough idea of when your’e going to be super-busy and when you may need a few activities to fill weeks where nothing is going on.
In our family, June and August are fairly busy months, but we have a lot of down time in July.
2. Know What You Want to Accomplish. I like to use the summer to work on life skills that my kids need to know before leaving home – things like cooking, cleaning, and managing money. Frequently the school year gets so busy, we don’t have time to work on these important skills.
We also work on Bible study skills and academic areas where the kids need a little extra help. This year we’re tackling reading comprehension and writing.
3. Ask Your Kids What They Want to Accomplish. Your kids may have goals of their own. Find out what they are. If your kids come up with their own goals, they are much more likely to cooperate when it is time to work on them.
4. Set SMART Goals. What is a SMART Goal?
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Attainable
- R – Realistic
- T- Timely
Let me give you an example. Instead of saying, “my son will learn to cook this summer”, my goal might be, “By the end of summer, my son will be able to make three meals from scratch.” It’s specific – three meals. It’s measurable – either he makes three meals or he doesn’t. It’s attainable – three months is more than an adequate amount of time to learn to make three meals. It’s realistic – an eleven year old can definitely accomplish this. And it it’s timely – the deadline is the end of summer.
5. Schedule Time to Work on Your Goals. We will take a couple of weeks off in June. Remember, relaxing a bit is necessary after the school year ends. But in July, I will schedule time on my calendar to work specifically on our goals. I have found that if I don’t schedule things, they don’t get done.
6. Make a Written Plan. Scheduling time to work on your goals isn’t enough. By writing down a plan to meet those goals, you take away any guesswork. In my learning to cook example, I will write down exactly what three meals my son will learn to cook. What is the main dish? The side dishes? Having a written plan means that when it comes time to work on the goals, I know exactly what I’m doing.
7. Gather Necessary Materials. Look over your written plan and figure out what materials you need to accomplish your goals. In our example, I will make a list of ingredients I need. I will figure out what pots and pans I need to use.
If I’m working with my daughter on reading comprehension, I need to figure out what she’s going to read and what I’m going to use to test her comprehension.
Once you know what you need, make sure you have those supplies on hand. If you need to pick up supplies at the last minute, like ingredients for a meal, make a note on your calendar to buy the ingredients at the beginning of the week you need them.
8. Set Up a Reward System. We all love rewards. Your kids (and you, too!) are more likely to cooperate and work toward summer goals when there’s something fun at the end of the process. Maybe it’s a trip to Dairy Queen. Maybe it’s a day at the water slides. The reward doesn’t have to be big. Just make sure you set the reward at the beginning of the summer. Than write it down on the calendar where everyone can see it.
Now that you know how to have a productive summer, what are you going to work on?
This post is linked at Good Tips Tuesday, a Little R&R, Mom’s Library, Works for Me Wednesday, Adorned from Above, Pintastic Pinteresting Party, the MultiTasking Mummy, Golden Reflections Blog, and Wow Me Wednesday.