School’s out! And in just a few weeks, we might be out of sanity too, right? Our kids are wonderful—we love them—but without a break, it can be quite overwhelming. So we turned asked our Chatbooks Momforce for tips and tricks on how to survive the dog days of summer. The incredible weather and less rushing from one activity to another is great, but we’ve still got to combat the inevitable boredom and fighting.

Screen time to the rescue? It’s the best babysitter and easiest break a mom can rely on, but it also seems to make our kids crazy when they have too much of it! So how do we balance the mean screens? The key is to set limits. One mom said, “This sounds counterintuitive, but I cut out tv and electronics for the first few weeks of summer. My kids tend to play easier alone and with one another when electronics aren’t an option. I usually endure three days of  whining and then after that they’re great!” Your kids may revolt at first, but if you stick to your guns and survive the moans and groans for a couple of days, you’ll reap the benefits. Your kids will most likely find other things to do as they become more creative while playing with each other. Sometimes they just need a little push to realize screens aren’t a necessity.

Schedule your way to sanity. A key to summer success is scheduling activities. Even though it seems like a time to escape schedules, this one will help you survive. Kids thrive on routine, so doing this will help give them some direction and something to look forward to each day. Some moms suggest having a theme for each day. For example, one mom shared her schedule as, “Make Something Monday, Time to Read Tuesday, Water Fun Wednesday, Take a Trip Thursday, and Fabulous Friday Fun.” Another mom suggested, “Mondo Monday—‘mondo’ means ‘world’ in Spanish so we’ll go to the library, check out books about a different country, learn all about it, eat food from that country, etc. We also do Try it Tuesday with different experiments (some from a fun experiment book), Water Wednesday when we visit a pool or splash pad, Thoughtful Thursday with random acts of kindness, and Fun Friday for field trips, museums, or zoos.” Other moms suggested doing chores in the morning or some type of learning worksheet to keep their minds busy. A little preparation will go a long way in keeping your wee ones busy this summer.

Make summer a time of self-care. Now that you’re not running around for school activities, you can make time for yourself. Find a gym with childcare and consider it a cheaper form of therapy. 😉 You’ll get to destress while the kids play in a new environment, so it’s a win-win! Watch one of your shows while you get your cardio on, and the best part is your kids can’t interrupt you. Other options include a weekly babysitter or a friend to participate in kid-swap while you take a few hours to shop or reset with a little special me time.

Send the kids to camp. There are actually countless programs that can take on your kids. Sign them up for the swim team, activities at the YMCA, your local Parks and Rec department, the library’s summer reading program, summer bowling, or even just get them a pool pass. These options are usually pretty affordable and help take the edge off so Mom gets to enjoy a little summer break too.

We hope that with these tips and tricks you won’t just survive summer, but actually enjoy it too! “May the odds be ever in your favor!” You’ve got this, mama!

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The #Momforce by Chatbooks Facebook group is a community and support group for women hosted by Chatbooks. Join us here for tips, tricks, and mom relief efforts.