Episode 268: summer survival tips!

We’re all about to head into summer and as I was thinking about what might help you the most, my mind went straight back to an experience I had with a mom in my community. She has 7 kids, and when I asked her how the heck she was keeping them all busy and entertained AND teaching them to work and be responsible (all her kids are hard workers!) she gave me the most amazing tip that I’m going to share with you.

PLUS I’m sharing the exact template she shared with me that I made my own, and you can make it your own too. Go to mintarrow.com/summerjobs and download it for your summer of kids learning to work and stay busy and thrive!

Also shout out to Cariloha who I mentioned at the beginning of this episode – you can go to Cariloha.com and use code mintarrow for 30% off anything — I highly recommend the resort line of sheets and mattresses!!

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Listen, rate and subscribe here on apple podcasts, or listen here on spotify.


All right. Hello from my Maycember. I keep hearing that. I swear this is the first year that that's a thing. If it was before, I wasn't aware of it, but it's such a real thing. Like there's so much going on in May and I've been gone more. My travel schedule is really interesting where I'll go like two months and go nowhere.

And then suddenly there'll be three things in a row. And they're never scheduled by me. Like, I wouldn't schedule it that way. But it's just, it happened back in the fall, I remember. And then it happened again this May, where there were just Three things in a row where I went to Mexico, uh, with girlfriends for a mastermind, like blogger, Instagrammer, YouTuber, podcaster, friends that are all like female founders.

And we all went together. And then the very next week I went to Utah and spoke twice. And then I was home for a few days. And I went to Mexico again this time on this last week was on a trip with Keraloha, which is a company we absolutely love. It's the dreamy mattress that we sleep on and the bedding and the sheets that will change your life.

They're the most comfortable sheets in the world. We've converted so many people. In fact, I got a Marco Polo from my friend Lindsay over the weekend. She was like, Hey, what's your Keraloha discount code? Because I want to order even more of those. When we went and stayed in their house. Um, and then we talked to our other friend, Keoni, and his wife into Kerala, Hawsheet's.

And now they're obsessed. And he's like, I don't like anything bougie, but I love Keraloha. So anyway, anyone listening to this, if you want to use the code Mint Arrow, you can get 30 percent off of anything on Keraloha. com. But this is not sponsored by Keraloha. I'm just mentioning that because we love them so much and we were invited onto their incentive trip and then I got to take Neil.

So we went on a little three day Vacation down to Cabo last week. It was really wonderful. It was great for us to both unplug and spend time as a couple, but because I've been gone so much because of all the craziness of May, I got behind on podcasts and for the first time in five years, except for when I had Bobby and did not get my maternity leave episodes all lined up the way I had hoped to, except for my maternity leave for.

Bobby's birth. I haven't missed a Monday and this was the first time and I felt so bad about it, but it just sometimes life happens. So here I am on Monday night at 8 55 PM after my girl's piano recital, they did an awesome job tonight at their piano recital. Recording this episode. And I was thinking today about what I could talk about that would be most helpful to you.

And I'm thinking of most of the people that listen to this are moms and these moms that are heading into summer, just like I am, just like we all are. And I was thinking back on last summer. And how one mom totally changed the whole thing for me. So I'm going to share with you what she shared with me and how it was a total game changer in our home.

But then also some suggestions from the crowdsourced answers to my Instagram story question. I asked, you know, what are your tips and tricks for a great summer? What do you do to make memories or to keep a great schedule? So I'm going to share those with you. And then I'm also going to share, I think I'll start out with this awesome post that I saw today from Brooke Romney.

Who is such a beautiful writer. She's makes these really great little flip chart looking books to teach kids manners. So she has like one for, I think she has a couple of her teens and then she has one for kids now too. I love all of them. They teach just really good modern manners. About, you know, things like say thank you when you get out of a car or a lot of technology tips like etiquette with text messaging and group texts and things like that and how to be inclusive, not leave people out, not bully.

She's so awesome. But she put this post up today that said, want a smoother summer with your teen? Have a conversation and set realistic expectations before summer begins. If they're planning on sleeping until noon, playing video games until five, then asking you for money and rides. All evening, then staying up until 2 a.

m. But you are planning on them joining you at the gym every morning, getting a job, having family dinner every night, and enjoying some screen free weeks together. Can you see how this is a recipe for disaster? Don't fight about opposite expectations for three months. Start figuring things out now. These questions and tips can help.

Number one. What does a great summer look like for each of you? Number two, what is realistic slash unrealistic? Number three, chat some, chat about some of these hot issues, technology, work, sleep, curfew, help at home, physical activity, learning, responsibility, money, friends. Number four, what fun things are you expected?

Excited about doing together or doing a part. Number five, what are pain points? Both of you share the why behind needs, wants, and desires. Find a middle ground. Number six, what will average days look loosely look like? Number seven, what are some reasonable consequences when agreed upon expectations aren't met?

Having this conversation now won't guarantee a perfect conflict free summer. But it will create a foundation. You can go back to when things get a little rocky and overall it will be a much better, less frustrating summer for everyone. And I will link that, but it, it got a lot of likes and comments. And I think it really struck a chord with a lot of people.

And even me, I don't have teenagers yet, but the tip that I am going to share with you solved a lot of these little problems for me. And the problem that I found myself in last year, last summer, which felt like it was more pronounced than any other summer before, is I found myself having kind of two levels of kids, my bigs and my littles, and the divide seemed bigger than ever last summer.

So I had a 10 year old, an eight year old, and then a four, three, Uh, four year old, three year old and a baby. So this year I have eleven, nine, um, five, four and one. And so five, four and one, the littles, you know, they all can kind of play together, go to the park. They still enjoy those like little kid things.

But my older girls, even last summer, what I, what happened was I found that they'd get up in the mornings and I'd be like, okay, you got to get something done. And I'd give them a list of a few things to do and they would be done with it really quickly. And then they'd be like, well, can we watch TV? Can we play on our, you know, they, they don't have iPads, but they have devices.

They have like phones that have apps that are locked out. And so. I would find myself trying to keep them busy every day, but also I wanted to let them have some fun. Cause I was like, well, as a kid, like I watched TV, I relaxed, I did fun things. And so it was a constant battle of me every day, waking up and feeling like I was the cruise director, that I was trying to find things to keep them entertained, to keep them busy, to keep them working, to keep them engaged.

And I was like, man, I don't, Remember my mom having to do quite this much. And I think that some of it was that from age 10 on my mom was reminding me of this the other day, like you had a pretty programmed life where I was practicing the piano for like three to five hours a day in the summer, or actually even during the school year, it was like three hours.

But then in the summer it was anywhere from like three to five hours. And then if it was competition season, I was getting ready for a competition. It was up to eight hours a day. So. I spent a ton of time at the piano and I also spent a lot of time reading, which I'll talk about in a second. But I was like, I don't even remember what my mom would have done with me.

And part of that was just that so much of my time was spent at the piano bench. And neither of my kids are at that level where they want to spend hours and hours all day long playing the piano. So this is what happened. I was kind of explaining this to a friend of mine who has seven kids. And I was like, I am just having a hard time keeping them occupied and she was like, Oh, let me tell you what I do.

And I was like, yes, please tell me what you do. And she said, I have a list and it's super long of all these jobs that my kids can do if they choose to. They're not required to, but if they do to a certain amount, like they have a, they have Certain amount that they have to hit, then they earn their screen time.

And then if they do perfectly every single job all week, then she doubles their money. So she pays them for these jobs. But the catch is, cause she's like, it's a pretty high earning potential, but she said they have to use the money to buy their school clothes. And I was like, that's genius. She was like, yeah, cause you're going to spend the money anyway.

So if you are, A lot, how much money that you're probably going to spend, and then you break that into creating jobs for your kids. Then you can give them the money that you would have spent on, you know, allowing them to earn money throughout the summer and then they'll have spending money. And with our kids, we make our kids earn money for wants, not needs.

So Yeah. Cool. If they need a new pair of shoes, I buy them for them. And if they need, you know, something for an extracurricular activity, like I will buy them what they need, uh, because they're growing or because they need it to be able to progress in a sport or activity. But if it's a want, if they just want money to go do something or buy something, then I'm always like, well, did you bring your money?

Have you earned any money lately? Because we give them opportunities to earn money all the time. So. Um, this is what we did with this job chart. It is, I believe there are 16 things every day and so they are allowed to earn. So what we do is we make it 50 cents and then, so it's an 8 earning potential, but if they get it perfectly throughout the whole week, they don't miss a single thing, which honestly didn't happen that often.

It only happened a couple of weeks, then everything doubled to a dollar per entry. But you also have to remember that this money. Was meant for them to buy the shoes, the backpack, the, you know, the clothes that they wanted, the new stuff they wanted for the new school year. Anyway, it's just a really great way to allow them to earn money. They feel great about it and then they'll have some spending money because it's, it's still more than what they'll need if, if they do all their jobs.

I continually remind them they get payday once a week. We pay them on Saturday. So I'm not bugged every single day to pay them. So we pay them on Saturdays and then I always remind them, okay, just remember. You can't, if you blow all your money, you're not going to have any money for the things that you want, the new clothes that you want for the school year.

So they do remember that and they have to, you know, be careful with their money so that they have something to spend when the new school year rolls around. It just changed our summer from every day having to think of like, what the heck am I going to do with these kids and trying to get them to keep them entertained and keep them on track and keep them learning and keep them engaged.

The list, and if you want the list, I am going to happily share it with you. So it's a printable that you can get in and change. It's through Canvas. So you'll be able to get in and like edit, um, if you want to change some of them, but it's just like my template of suggestions. So there's things like, uh, read for an hour.

And that is something that I, I really believe that I love to read. And I'm a good reader and a good writer because. If you're a good reader, you're typically a better writer because of my grandpa. My grandpa did this thing called the summer reading program every summer where he would give us a challenge at the beginning of the summer.

And actually we had to come up with it ourselves. So we had to set a goal. So I think the very first summer that I did it, I was just learning to read. I was like going into kindergarten and So I set a goal of reading 30 books, which was a lot for me to sit down and read 30 books and sound out the words.

I had to do it. My parents couldn't read it to me. I had to read the book and, you know, sound out the words and do it with them. So I had a goal of reading 30 books and I actually did it. I was so proud of myself and at the end of the summer he gave me a hundred dollars for completing my reading goal and he did that every summer with me until, gosh, at least middle school.

And I spent my summers reading. And so after a couple of years into that, we changed from a certain amount of books to just reading an hour every day. And I would do that all summer, like Monday through Friday, read an hour every day. And so I put that into my girls summer job charts and things like walk the dog, clean up the dog poo.

Um, Um, and then you'll see also, it'll say something like load the dishes or empty the dishes. And so I would circle for Lila, I would circle one and then for Annie, I would circle the other one. We would trade off every other week so that they had alternating jobs. And one of my favorite things on this job chart that they were required to do, even if they didn't want to do all their jobs was make dinner once a week.

So during the summer they had to choose and they got to choose whatever they want and I would buy the ingredients, but they had to make. dinner one night a week all through the summer. And it was so good because it taught them and they loved it. They loved learning to make something new. And I'm like, okay, it's such a young age.

They're learning to make dinner for our family. And they're also learning to appreciate when a meal takes a lot of time. Like I remember Annie picked my mom's baked ziti for one of the dinners that she wanted to make last summer. And I was like, sweet, that's great. And she learned that that meal is fairly labor intensive.

It takes actually a lot of effort and planning ahead and a lot of sweat equity by the time you get done with that dinner. And so now when I make a dinner like that, she's a lot more appreciative because she's done it before. So my girls had to do that and then they had like a different day of the week chore.

So like one day was wash your bedding. One day was wash your clothes. The next day was fold and put away your clothes. Like they had a different. That job of the day, like one day is clean your bathroom. So you'll see that on there too. It has like the different day of the week that they have to do that, um, that day's job and then like take out the trash is one of the jobs on the job chart and then like go around the house and take out, you know, Empty the trash bags and, and take out the trash from the house.

And then on Thursday, roll the trash cans out for Friday morning. And then on Friday, after the trash has been picked up, roll the cans back in. So that's a job like there's, you'll see, there's lots of different things on there. I also put on there, um, for them to study their scriptures every day. And that's something that they started to do last summer and they've really loved it.

And my oldest Annie has just incorporated that into her everyday life because she learned. To love to study the scriptures every day. So it was so cool for me to watch my kids, not only stay pretty busy, because this keeps them busy until at least lunchtime, if not like a little bit after lunch, and then by that time, like after they've worked for a few hours and read for a while and helped around the house and, and they feel good about earning this money too.

Then they have downtime. Then they can, as if they check off all of their stuff up until like dinner, you can see where there's like a point in the job chart where it's like dinner dishes, stuff like that. So if they get everything done up until like the dinner point in the day, then they earn whatever free time they want.

So they can watch TV, they can play Nintendo. They can, um, I can unlock the Duolingo app on their phone and they can play Duolingo. That's been such a cool thing for me to not have to fight with them because they just know they know that they have to get all those jobs done in order to unlock screen time and or play time or free time or whatever.

And then if they don't want to get all their jobs done, they don't have to, but in order to earn specifically screen time, they have to get these jobs done before that. And I. I know that there's different opinions and that's great. Like if you don't need these suggestions, awesome. Good on you. Like everybody's going to have different ways to do this.

But for me, going to a mom of seven kids who said, Oh, this is what I do. This works great for my kids was so helpful for me. So if that's helpful for you, you can go to mint arrow. com slash summer jobs with an S so mint arrow. com slash summer jobs and you can get this printable. And it will have the whole list of like 16 jobs that you can then utilize.

And you can have it be worth whatever you want. If you want each job to be worth 25 cents, you can, um, but that's just, it worked really well for us. And my kids honestly didn't do every job every day, but on the days that they were motivated, it kept them really busy. And then they earned money for the fun things they wanted to do in the summer and for clothes and the backpacks and the shoes that they wanted for the end of the summer.

You know, right before they went back to school, and we also did camps. So you'll see on there to that 30 minutes of exercises on there. So that could be, um, they did lots of different things for that. Like they would play outside or go on a walk or ride their bike. Or sometimes they wanted to do little, um, Like if it's we have weird weather here in Orange County, like June, almost the entire month of June is just like gloomy.

And a lot of times it's raining. So on those days, they would turn on, um, go noodle and do like a little go noodle, like exercise video, which was great for me. But then if they had a summer camp, like, My kids did junior lifeguards and they complained about it. They grumble about it because it's a lot of work.

It's really hard. It's very physically exerting. Um, but that for sure counted as their physical exercise. So I would check that off any day that they went to like a camp or they were doing physical activity and then, um, They don't do that every week. They do that. They've got like usually like two or maybe three weeks in the summer where they'll do like a camp.

So they automatically, if they go to a really physically exerting camp, like junior lifeguards where they're doing pushups and they're swimming and they're working hard for several hours that day, then I check off the physical activity one. But if not, then they, there's. You know, that's such a great way to get them out and get them active.

Um, and then they do, they're always happy to do the dog walk too. They like to walk our dog around. And so anyway, that has been so helpful for me. The summer reading program has been so helpful to me and my grandpa. I'm so lucky that he is still alive. Still such a huge force for good in my life, and then also has been able to do that same thing for my kids.

It's been so special. So he has done the summer reading program with my older girls, and it's been such a blessing, and it's a cool thing because they get to talk to him. We're gonna go to Utah in June again this year, and they'll get to sit down and talk to him and make a goal and do the summer reading program again, and it just fosters so much love of reading.

It's funny when I said foster, that's my maiden name. So my grandpa Foster does the foster summer reading program and it was life changing for me. Okay. Here's a few other suggestions that came in from the crowdsourced, uh, Mint Arrow. Actually this wasn't on Mint Arrow. This was on my personal Instagram, Corinne Stoko.

So somebody said hikes, picnics also get their input. Which I totally agree with. I think if you ask your kids, you'll be surprised. Like some of the things that they want to do. Like my daughter told me she was telling me a couple of days ago, what are, you know, some of the things on her summer bucket list.

And she told me, learned to crochet. I was like, Oh, really? I never would have picked that for her, but she's like, yeah, I really want to learn to crochet. It was like, Great. Um, but yeah, hikes and picnics are really fun. If you happen to live where we live in South Orange County, there's a beautiful place called Salt Creek, and it's this big grassy field that overlooks the ocean.

It's so beautiful. And we love to take picnics down there. Like, we love to take, You know, sometimes I'll make a homemade picnic, but sometimes we'll grab little bean and cheese burritos from Los Galindrios, which is a little Mexican place here. And my kids love those and we'll just eat those and watch the sunset.

Or sometimes we'll take a pizza down there and watch the sunset. But, um, you know, it's, it's a great way to just like hang out as a family and make memories. Another person says zoo or aquarium membership. Plus, reciprocity, museums, crafts, and new skills. So those are all really fun things. I totally agree too with the new skills.

Like it's, that's one thing that I've asked my kids the last couple of summers. Like what do you want to learn to do this summer? And their answers always really surprised me. Like what new skills do you want to learn? So my oldest Annie wants me to teach her to do her hair this summer and to do makeup.

because she's going into middle school and I'm like, great, let's do it. So however much she wants to learn, you know, I'm going to be teaching her how to put mascara on or how to curl her own hair or how to straighten her own hair. And I'm looking forward to that. I think it'll be fun for both of us. So someone else says, ask them for ideas of fun things they want to do.

Another question. said, uh, participate in your local library summer reading program. I think that's a great idea too. And I know that our local library does stuff for even the little, so my whole family, all my kids love the library because for the older kids, there's something for the younger kids.

There's always something. They're always doing fun things at our local libraries in orange County. So yeah, checking into your library and seeing like, I remember thinking that was so fun going to the library as a kid and not only checking out books, but. I don't know if, I don't know how applicable this would be because I don't know how many people still use DVDs, but you can rent DVDs usually.

And then I saw on someone's Instagram a couple months ago, they were talking about how they will rent a Nintendo or an Xbox or something from the library. And I didn't even know that was a thing, but she was like, yeah, your local library. your public library, you can rent a gaming system for like a week or two.

So that could be a kind of fun thing for your kids to earn. If you're like, I don't want that permanently in my house, but maybe I want to just have that be like a special treat that they earn halfway through the summer or like the last week of summer or something like that. And maybe you don't want them to have that the last week of summer where they're just sitting there, um, on the TV, but You know, that could be a fun thing.

And then someone says, we always do their charts. First thing, piano reading and a chore before screen time. Then they can earn more screen time by reading time outside, et cetera. So that's very similar to what we've adopted too. That's worked so well for us. And then another mom, my best summer with kids, your age tweens and under, I read little house out loud daily.

So I'm guessing she means little house on the Prairie. And I love that idea. I loved little house on the Prairie as a kid. I know my mom loved that as a kid. And then she says, make a schedule activities like swim team, really help and stick to it. So I agree with that too, the kids love schedules. They love to know what they can plan on.

I think especially littles, they thrive with schedules and with predictability and knowing kind of like, okay, this is how our day goes. And I remember especially with Annie as just a toddler when I had just one and then when I had Annie and Lila, and I just had a. Two at home, we would kind of just do the same thing every day in the summer, like get up, get ready, go to the pool or go to the beach and, you know, wear them out, come home, have an afternoon nap, get cleaned up, have dinner, rinse and repeat.

And so I think, you know, doing some stuff like that can be so good. I, my personal goal. This summer is to just get down to the beach more. Like I find so much enjoyment and just the waves, how calming that is, how nature just feels so good. So I think no matter where you live, unless you are literally, and even if you are in Manhattan or some like super suburbian, um, or sorry, urban city, um, I think there's still even.

Even if you lived in New York, there's Central Park, like there's almost always a way to get out into nature. And for me, that's such a great way to just like revive your soul. I remember going and hiking Elephant Rock and Bountiful where I grew up and loving that and loving just how cool the The Canyon felt and you'd get back there and it was like, it could be the hottest summer day and you get back into Mueller park Canyon and it would just cool right down.

It was like magic. Um, or even just like getting out to, we had this, we had these rolling hills. By the middle school that I went to Mueller Park junior high, and you could sit there and watch the sunset. And I just felt like it was the most beautiful, magical sunset. And I still, to this day, think that there's something really special about Davis County sunsets, like those bountiful sunsets.

So, and, you know, it's funny, a lot of times. The memories that I treasure the most from growing up, like sure, there were cool, fun things that we did that probably were a ton of extra work and cost money. But a lot of my favorite memories were just the silly, stupid things that we did as kids. Like I remember one night I, we would do night games all the time and I remember one night we did like a truth or dare.

And one of my neighbors made me go around to every. Like door to door to every house on our circle and tell people that I was raising money to put Hardy's back into business. Hardy's was like a sister company of, um, of what's that? Gosh, I can't think of what it's called, but it's a fast food restaurant.

Anyway, it's a fast food restaurant that went out of business in Utah. And I was so embarrassed and they just laughed and laughed and just, you know, Those nights or playing kick the can or playing basketball out on our basketball on our driveway. Um, on our little basketball hoop, like those are some of my favorite memories, not really any of the stuff.

Probably I do remember it was super fun. We'd always look forward to a water park day. My mom would take us all to raging waters and it was like a total routine where she would get the bagels and the cream cheese and. We'd usually like be able to take a friend or meet up with friends and. We got to spend the whole entire day at Raging Waters and that was really fun and we looked forward to that all summer But really most of my favorite summer memories are just the simple things are just like the silly kid memories So I hope that if you are listening to this that this gave you some helpful ideas for going into this summer and you know, try not to To stress too much because I know that it might feel like, Oh, I got to make everything magical.

But really, I can almost guarantee you that your kids favorite memories aren't going to be anything that was too over the top. It's going to be like, Oh yeah, we roasted marshmallows one night or we all watched this movie together one night or you know, just the simple things, the little things that I read the other day that kids spell love T I M E.

So make those memories and I hope you make it through Maycember too. And, um, yeah, I can't wait for our summer. I'm really looking forward to it.

Thanks so much for listening to Mint Aero Messages. We're so grateful that you spent time with us today. Make sure you go follow us at Corinne Stokoe or at Mint Aero Messages on Instagram. And then if you have a second and you love the show, I would love it so much if you'd leave a rating or a review on Apple Podcasts.

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