I would be lying if I said I haven't experienced many changes to my living habitat. For instance, my dad's line of work took us to different countries and now my husband's line of work has taken us to quite a few locations within these United States.
You would think, by now, I would be able to land in a new city and just find my groove automatically, right? Not so, my friend!
Moving is no man's joke and settling into a new city with kids can be hard.
Throw in the fact that some or all of your kids are of school-age, its summertime, you have no friends or family close-by AND maybe you also have a wee-little one thrown in the mix. Yeah, it can be hard, I know…
So why is summer with school-age kids so challenging in general?
It's my opinion that it's mainly because there is a shift in gear from school-mode to vacation-mode.
There is just simply so much time on the kiddos' hands and this fact usually needs to be addressed otherwise things could get quite rowdy in no time. Now when you throw in a new city, finding fun and edifying activities for the kids to do can be more difficult to achieve. The challenge usually comes down to finding fun things for the kids to do while also trying to settle down in a new city.
BUT there is always a choice: Go nuts, with frustration or just embrace the Hope of vast possibilities.
This summer, I decided to embrace hope instead of pulling my hair out and today I will be sharing the two major tips that helped keep me sane AND the kiddos engaged all summer. Here we go:
Relax and Reframe:
The task of finding activities for the kids to do during those long summer days might seem like a daunting task (and it is) but motivation is the key! Easier said than done, right?
However, a useful personal reminder is that nothing saps the will to press on during a task than the draining power of lack of motivation.
I had to motivate myself by reframing my situation. Here I was in a new city with two school-age kids and a baby and I really wanted them to enjoy the summer. Life happens to be compartmentalized into seasons and this was literally a change of season for us from the structured and productive school year to the more laid back format of summer.
I decided that our laid-back summer in this new city would not be laissez-faire or completely without structure.
So I reframed the seemingly endless weeks of summer into a giant blank slate upon which we could paint whatever masterpiece of activities we desired. Next,
Research your Resources:
That's right, I was in a new city but I also knew I did not have to reinvent the wheel because various organizations were putting up summer activities for the kids and all I had to do was tap into all those resources. Some of these resources include and are not limited to parks, local libraries, festivals, parades, concerts, and various community organizations.
Once, I relaxed and reframed, it put me in a good mindset to open up to these resources. The interesting thing about resources is that they are never really elusive when we are in the right frame of mind. We can either go after them actively through research or passively by simply letting them fall into our laps.
For instance, during casual outings with the kids this summer, I was able to pick up community magazines and tap into fliers that highlighted events for kids in my new city. We were able to enjoy several events around town, even unlikely ones like a bird show in my local library and a leisurely jaunt in a great park!