Danyelle Ferguson is a wife, mom, book editor, reviewer, and writer. She keeps busy raising four angels-in-training, the oldest of which has Autism. She and her husband, John, co-founded a non-profit organization, called Friends of GIANT Steps, which raises money to supplement an Autism preschool in Orem, UT. Danyelle has been active in the Autism community for over eight years, during which time she learned that prayer and a sense of humor are the keys to not only enduring but enjoying the special needs journey.
Today is my kids' last day of school. Like every mom out there, I'm both excited and nervous about what this summer will bring. I absolutely love all the extra time I get to spend with my munchkins (ages 10, 9, 5, and 3). At the same time, I know there are going to be moments - hopefully not too many - when my kids will get tired of each other, start nagging, teasing, and crying . . . which generally leads to Mommy having a great big headache and a need for a time-out (for me, not the kids!)
In an attempt to save both your sanity and mine, I've compiled a list of ideas to help smooth out those rough summer bumps.
Adventures in Reading
As a writer and book reviewer, I absolutely love, love, love to read. My kids have all inherited the love of books in one form or another. What do you do if your kids doesn't like to read? My oldest son has autism. Along with that comes a difficulty in learning to read. But he absolutely loves illustrated books - the funnier the better! Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes, even graphic novels. Note: When I say graphic novels, I don't mean R-rated books. I'm talking about the new style of novels that are basically long comic books with a deeper plot on the inside. Now some you may be asking, "what if he really doesn't like to read - like bordering on "Heck no! I'm not picking up some silly book to read!" My suggestion would be to find something your child loves. It could be construction vehicles, princesses, soda bottle experiments, dance, Legos, or even video games. Then go find non-fiction books - short or long but with cool info - and let your child have at it.
Several book stores have some awesome summer programs to encourage kids to read. Check out some of the following programs:
- Half Price Books' Feed Your Brain Program - From June 1st to July 31st, if your child reads 15 minutes a day for an entire week, then he take in his weekly reading log and receive a $3 Half Price Books gift certificate.
- Border's Summer Reading Double Dog Dare Program - From May 4th to August 26th, if you have a child ages 12 or under, he can participate in this program. He just needs to read ten books over the summer, fill out the Double Dog Dare form, and take it in to a Borders or Waldenbooks to earn a free book.
- Barnes & Noble's Summer Reading with The 39 Clues Program - From May 25th to September 7th. If you have a child in grades 1 through 6, he just has to read eight books, fill out the Passport, then turn it in at a BN store to receive a free book. As a bonus, if your child reads The 39 Clues series, they can fill out this fun activity sheet which reveals secret coded messages.
Did you notice that your child can work to finish the 8 books for BN, then would only need 2 more books to get another free book from Borders? And think of all the cool free books or other stuff they can get from Half Price Books just by doing their weekly reading! There are lots of great incentives here! Not to mention that usually libraries run summer reading programs where kids can earn a free book or other fun prizes throughout the summer. It's a great time to read, read, read and earn fun rewards!
The Dreaded Chores
Are you anticipating lots of "Oh Mom! Do I have to?" when you ask your child to put away his clothes or pick up his room? I can almost see the slumped shoulders, dragging feet, and pouty lips. If you don't want to have to constantly ask, "Are you done yet?", then you may want to pop over here and check out a fun reward system my family started a few months ago. Change it up a bit to meet your family's needs - but it's seriously worked wonders at our house. Our kids now ask us what they can do to help out around the house!
The Fun Stuff Door
Each year in November, we put together a Thankful Tree. Our family has fun filling out the leaves with things we are thankful for throughout the three weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, then sitting down to read them all after our big feast. This summer, I'm going to take that idea and put a little twist on it. Instead of leaves, I'm going to cut out bright flower shapes out of construction paper. On the flowers, our family can write down (or draw pictures of) something fun they did each day. Since I don't have any dead branches falling off my tree, I'm going to cover our coat closet door with butcher paper. Then we can tape the flowers all over the door. I think it will be awesome to see how full and colorful we can get it before school starts in August!
Before ending, I'd like to thank Christine for inviting me to be a guest blogger. I hope she asks me back again! Have a wonderful, awesome summer, everyone!
Danyelle's book, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel, comes out this summer. For more information, check out Danyelle's blog or website.
Thanks for being my guest today Danyelle. I for one need this list of things to do this summer. This will be the first time my son will be home all day without some kind of therapy to break up the long hours. And because he has autism, I need all the help I can get, which is why I'm passionate about Danyelle's new book coming out in July. I plan on spreading the word to all my friends and church leaders so they can all run out and get their own copy.
And, of course I will have you back, Danyelle. Soon!
My guest next week will be Nisa.....and I didn't get your last name. If this is you, can you please leave a comment below. Thanks.