This is a collaborative post but my authentic perspective is represented throughout the piece.
We all look forward to the summer, but parents know that the summer can be surprisingly stressful. The children are at home, and you’re faced with the prospect of entertaining them for days on end. There are ever-shifting schedules to deal with, as well as busy social calendars, sleepovers, camps, and days when the kids are home. Parents have a lot to do, and it’s not always easy. The key to a stress-free summer is in the preparation. Some extra planning can lay the groundwork for a summer to remember.
Create a plan
Create a family calendar for the summer now so you can record all the activities that you and your children will be doing, including camps, travel, and play-dates. Include dates for other summer prep, like re-varnishing garden furniture or getting rid of mosquitoes with a business like Mosquito Authority. By creating this calendar, you will know exactly what is coming up and what days you still need to fill up. When the school year ends, hang the calendar somewhere where the whole family can see it, so everyone knows where everyone is and when.
There are lots of ways to make a family calendar:
If you have free days or weekends, use these to stay in touch with friends and family. This should include your children’s friends too. Plan outings and days to get together. Make dates around some classic summer activities like heading to the pool or the beach, having a barbecue, or playing in the sprinklers.
Unstructured days can be nice, but it is best to maintain some kind of routine over the summer to make life go a little smoother and to make the transition back to school easier when the school year starts again.
Children thrive on consistency and structure, so if their summer plans will vary from week to week, help them feel some routine by getting them involved in filling up the family calendar so they know what’s going on and where they’re going to be.
You can also maintain routine by sticking to regular bedtimes, normal morning routines, and with things like predictable mealtimes, nap-times, or times to complete chores.
Be prepared for ‘I’m bored’No parent ever wants to hear the words, “I’m bored,” so start preparing some ideas now. As a family, spend some time thinking up some fun activities and write them all out on index cards. Pin the cards to the family calendar. When someone announces that they’re bored, you can turn to the list of your ideas for inspiration, instead of struggling to find a way to amuse a bored child.
You could also create a Bored Jar. Write your ideas on popsicle sticks, and put them in a jar. When your kids need something to do, they can pull an idea from the jar.
Think up some ideas for activities to do at home during the summer that will keep children engaged and learning about the world around them. Planting a garden is a fun summer activity to do together, that teaches your children about nature. Grow food, and use what you’ve grown to teach some basic cooking skills. Learn a new word every day, or challenge the children to learn the names for things around the house in a different language. Ask them to take more responsibility for caring for a family pet to teach them more skills.
Try a new sport or book swimming lessons. There are lots of fun things to do together that are also educational.
Check your supplies
Summer means spending a lot of time outdoors, and that means a lot of sun and bugs. Before you need them, stock up on sunscreen and bug repellent. Dig out the first aid kit and make sure you have plenty of supplies to deal with summer accidents like grazed knees. If you’re short of anything, replenish your supplies now so you’re not caught out when you need them.
Go through your kid’s summer clothes. Do they have sandals, swimwear, hats, and other summer clothes that still fit? Is there anything that they’ve outgrown that you will need to replace. Do this now before the temperatures start to rise. Spend an afternoon on a try-on session and make a note of any gaps in their wardrobe. Be sure to donate to local shelters where you know the clothing could used immediately.
Before you head out for the day, make sure you’ve prepared snacks so you have something healthy to offer if anyone is hungry, instead of having to spend money on unhealthy snacks while you’re out.
Buy each member of the family a reusable water bottle to take out with you, and either color-code or label them so everyone knows which bottle is theirs.
Stock up on reusable containers. Get the kids involved with prepping fruits and veggies to pack up to take out with you. You can prep snacks for home days too, and load the fridge with ready-to-go healthy snacks to save time during the day.
What things will your child want to play with that have been languishing in the shed or the garage for months? Dig out things like bikes, paddling pools, and lawn toys, and make sure they’re all clean, in good repair, and have been put away again somewhere where the children can get at them without needing your help. Check that bike helmets and other safety equipment still fits properly, and replace any that don’t. To make room for those toys, is there anything that can be put away instead that the children won’t want to play with until winter comes round again? Decrease clutter by storing away some of the indoor toys into closets.
You can't predict how the summer will go but you can be prepared to the best of your ability to ensure that everyone has fun in a stress-free way!
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Disclaimer: All posts and tips are for educational and informational purposes. SoleOrganizer, LLC is not to be held liable for interpretation of tips and products.