The morning of our first full day of summer vacation I sat down with the kids and placed a huge blank poster board on the table in front of us. I let the markers I had gathered slide onto the table and answered their expectant gazes.
“Rules. Summer rules.”
Expectant gazes turned wary.
“You guys are going to be home with me for nine weeks. We’re going to need some rules so that we can make sure we all have fun and do what needs to get done.”
The rules aren’t set in stone, but they are written up in bright Sharpie and posted on my office door. They’re based on our particular needs. The document bears both of their signatures as proof that they approved the rules when we wrote them up.
So far, it’s working quite well.
When they beg for more TV, I point them to the rules.
When they’re mean to each other, I point them to the rules.
When they start to say they’re bored, I point them to the rules.
When they insist on talking at me while I’m writing, I silently point to the rules.
It’s only been 10 days, but so far there has been more laughter than tears and I haven’t had to raise my voice one. If that isn’t the soundtrack to a happy summer, I don’t know what is.