Looking Forward to Having Both Kids Home All Summer

Many parents, my own included, look forward to sending their kids back to school as soon as summer vacation starts. Actually, I liked sending myself back to school, too. But I know my mom, and many other parents, look forward to having some child-free time again, look forward to some degree of freedom knowing their kids are being taught and watched for a number of hours five days a week.

I don’t doubt that that will be me one day, especially when both kids are in school.

But, right now, this summer, I look forward to having both of my babies home with me.

It’s my son’s last summer before he really starts school. He’ll be turning 5 and heading for Kindergarten. He’s recently finished preschool, so I’m kind of used to having him away for a few hours. But the Kindergarten days are longer than the preschool days, and I just don’t know what my daughter and I will do without him for that long. Eventually, we’ll figure it out, but I’ll still countdown to pick up time. As it is, I was usually the first one to pick up my son from preschool. I don’t like not having him at home.

Life is louder, busier, and more chaotic with both kids home. I step on more toys. I have more kids whining at me and making demands. I have more disciplining that needs to get done. I have to split my attention between two kids who cling to me and pull in different directions half the day. It’s not always easy having both kids home and sometimes I wish my son had school that day.

But I really do love having them both with me. I like knowing they’re safe and happy and I’m right here to take care of their needs. They only have to wait for each other, but they love playing together most of the time, so sometimes they don’t mind having to take turns.

I look forward to having them both home all summer. I don’t look forward to having to send my son away for most of the day five days a week starting in August. I know I’m going to long to have him home just as much as I like having him and his non-stop word flow at school. For now, I’m just going to enjoy it.

Keeping Busy

When I was very young, my mom read somewhere that, over the summer, kids lose most of what they learned over the past year. My dad’s solution: have us do workbooks all summer. There quickly came a time where I didn’t remember not doing workbooks in the summer. I looked forward to taking a trip to the local teacher resources store as soon as school let out.

My kids will have their grandparents to blame.

As my son is about to start Kindergarten, this will be his very first summer spent the same way I remember spending my summers.

My mom drew up reward charts for us and taped them, one below the next, to a wall. Every weekday we were to do our assigned number of workbook pages, do a half hour of reading, practice piano, clean our rooms, and whatever other tasks she chose for us. My brother and I would compete to see who finished first, and often did the next day’s pages the night before so we had less to do the next morning.

We were raised to work first, then play, so, even though our mom didn’t demand it, we still spent each morning doing everything we had to do we could spend the rest of the day playing.

Almost as soon as our son graduated from preschool, we headed for the local learning store. My husband and I were like kids in a candy store while our actual kids loved the toys that were out for them to play with.

Laden with workbooks, phonics teaching tools, construction paper, stickers, paints, crayons, and a cute robot set, we exited, simultaneously wondering if we had over done it or were still unprepared for the long summer days.

Coloring is our son’s nemesis. It’s been that way since I sat him down with paper and crayons when he was a little more than a year old. He flipped out when he had to touch paint shortly before he turned two. He made faces when he had to touch chalk. Teaching him to take his time with coloring is going to be fun this summer.

But, when it comes to STEM, this kid lights up. Science experiments, robots, magnets… His favorite activity is sink or float, where he explores weight, mass, and gravity. He’s also been doing simple addition and subtraction for almost a year. His dad couldn’t be more excited about what he gets to teach our son this summer.

The summer will fly by. We’ll keep busy. There’s learning to do and learning to maintain. There will be exciting trips to the city, the beach, the library, and parks. There will be painting and building and hopefully no permanent stains (right, husband?).

But I hope it doesn’t move too fast. I hope to have time to just breathe in my babies, to enjoy having them in my clutches. Ahem. I mean, at home with me. I’m terrified of sending him to school, but am also eager for him to learn and, hopefully, love learning as much as I do.

I’m going to love having both my babies at home with me all summer. Just 13 short weeks.

Check out more of my parenting posts or read about my journey into finding magic in motherhood over in the Mother’s Corner.

  1. Author A. R. Curry

    Love this post and absolutely agree. Typically, I’d love to have the summer to do all types of things with my children (3 of them), but money’s been tight since trading my six-figure income in to chase my writing dream. Still, there’s things to do and time to spend with them. They have a checklist of activities they have to complete daily (I.e. Draw, read, play outside for X amount of time) and I try to utilize this time period to do my writing so I can have better quality time with them mid-day. Keep the posts coming!

    • kat

      That’s lovely! The summer days are long and perfect for being able to do everything during daylight. There’s so much to do; I sometimes worry the summer isn’t long enough. And I think it’s great for the kids to still have some structure and expectations to fulfill.

  2. Chandra Lynn

    I love summers too. My son just turned 13 and we still have fun summers–unstructured with a bit of structure thrown in. When he was younger (starting around 1.5) he hated anything to do with holding a pencil or crayon–unless, I made it a contest. Eventually–he came along. I eased up and realized that was the one thing he would have to work to overcome on his own. Now, he draws and writes almost every day.

    • kat

      This gives me so much hope. My son is the exact same way. I worry a lot, but perhaps I should tone it down and trust a little more. Summer is such a great time. I hope you and your son have a lovely one!

      • Chandra Lynn

        I think it’s natural for us–mothers. There’s so much pressure that we feel anything less than perfection in our child is an indication of poor parenting. Sigh… Sometimes,we just have to let go of the [societal and our own] expectations and let our kids just be.

  3. ourlittleredhouseblog

    You are going to have so much fun. I miss those younger years with my adult kids. One of our favorite places was the learning center stores. We also made a summer toy run every year at Toys-R-Us. We would fill our cart up with Playdoh, water toys, kites, games, all kinds of fun toys.

    • kat

      We mourn the loss of Toys R Us almost daily. Sure there were a ton of useless toys, but they also had some nice learning materials. Now how are parents going to be able to say they’ll buy something from the toy store and get away with something educational?

  4. Kamber Shaffer

    I love it. While I do count down the days until my oldest goes back to school (youngest too young), I also enjoy the summer with them. We do lots of stuff to stay on top of the summer slide too. The science and math always go over well with the kids.

    • kat

      That’s fantastic! I know a good many parents do the same, but there are also so many who don’t and have no idea what to do with their kids all summer. It’s amazing how kids enjoy soaking up academics even during the summer. Though that first day of school can still feel very far away.

  5. mothertherealist

    I love summer until about the second day. It has a lot more to do with their being older, I’ve realized. It was easier when I could just buckle them in and the park was a super cool destination.

    We’ve started doing workbooks this year, too! I’ve been on bed rest so haven’t been able to enforce the schedule I planned, but they’re at least doing part of it (a job, some workbook, some room cleanup).

    • kat

      Yeah, it’s a lot easier to tell young kids it’s time to go to the park, and they’ll get really excited about it. Haha, I don’t look forward to the older ages, though having to work on workbook pages with my almost 5 year old since he can’t read yet is sometimes like pulling teeth.

      • mothertherealist

        🙂 Yes, it is. I’m trying to make it fun but my five-year-old often resists schoolwork.

      • kat

        So does mine. It’s like pulling teeth. Unless he’s close to getting a reward, then he’s running to do everything.

      • mothertherealist

        My husband was in charge of getting them to work …two years ago or so. He came and told me, “It was really easy. I just gave them a jellybean after they’d done some work. It kept them right on task!”

        Oh yes, if only I bribed them with candy for doing ANY work in life. I can see how this will play out well for future job-doing.

      • kat

        Yes, that’s exactly why I don’t hand over the reins to my husband. Being not quite 5, my son must complete 5 days of work to earn a reward, which is something small like getting a day off. My husband, though, would reward every day, and likely with something more extravagant like a toy. The differences between moms and dads? I can’t imagine how entitled workers would be if they grew up being constantly rewarded. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough for the system my mom had: one small reward per every 10 days of work excluding weekends, which equates to being paid every two weeks like a biweekly pay schedule. Though I won’t get tell my son I had weekends off because I make him work during them!

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