If your house is like my house, there are as many opinions as there are people when it comes to deciding what to do. What one person considers to be fantastic fun, the other considers a drag, and on and on it goes. How to get the whole crew on the same page when everyone has so many varying perspectives on what makes for a good time?
I have yet to completely crack this code, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that seem to work, especially when it's just me and the kids. I'll be offering a little series this summer of suggestions for those summer standoff moments. Here's my first:
At the beginning of summer have everyone (littles included) sit around the table. Help each child make a list of their absolute favorite summer activities. If you have a wide range of ages, ask your bigger kids to be sure to include some items even the little ones can do. Let everyone pick their personal top five (repeats are fine) and write the selected entries on little slips of paper. Add in your own essential sanity savers ("30 free minutes of screens" or "Watch a quiet movie") and throw all the papers in a bowl you can keep somewhere safe.
This is how it will work. Each kid will take a turn pulling an activity out of the pile, knowing that sooner or later their absolute fave will be the choice pick. If you're kids are really, really into it, you can take the list one step further and add some qualifiers. We marked some of our favorites with a little drawing of the sun to signify that that particular activity required good weather and others with a dollar sign to show that this activity would only be possible if mom had cash on hand. That way when "bike riding" comes up on a rainy day, there's no drama and everyone understands that (of course) we have to draw again. And one more thing--make sure that the slip of paper doesn't go back into the pile after your outing--that way you'll be sure to do everything on everyone's list, at least once this summer.
You'll note this is really just a glorified way of learning how to take turns, but that's exactly the point. Some sibling sets need one more layer between themselves and the decision making process and a tiny slip of paper in a bowl is sometimes just the right thing.
What do you think? Would it work at your house? Why or why not?
In case you are one of the moms out there saying, "But, but, but, how do you deal with _______?" or "What about __________?" I'll be happy to address your questions or objections in the comments below or even a future post.