As the grass turns green and flowers bloom, you are soooo ready for summer! Good-bye snow boots, hello sandals. But if you have school-age kids, you know that summer vacation can become more like summer survival. Here are some tips to help you turn your view of “survival” into three months of cherishing the days with your little ones (or maybe not so little any more!).
♦ Clothes and Shoes – Swap the boots that are by the back door for sandals and tennis shoes. Have a couple pairs to minimize the frantic rush when the neighbor stops by to ride bikes. If your kids dress themselves, label the clothes you are OK with them destroying when playing outside.
♦ Family Calendar – have a master calendar that everyone in the family can view. Digital or printed. Color code per kid. This is a must for your sanity and daily planning!! Include transportation, daycare, camps, meals, and more. Anything to communicate the ever differing daily schedules.
♦ ‘Go Bags’ Prepped– have a designated bag for each frequent activity – pool, friends house, day care, etc. Make your life easier by not having to remember every need for every occasion. My fav is an accessible bin for outside fun with sunscreen, bug spray, and band-aids. The essentials for active outdoor kids.
♦ Pre-Made List of Activities – brainstorm a list of summer activities and projects. When the kids get bored, direct them to the list to find a craft or creation to make, inside or out. Remember that built in downtime can be an activity, too.
♦ Set “Field Trips” – if you don’t have kids that are involved in summer camps and scheduled activities, the weeks can get long. Have a set day of the month (or week) that you do a field trip (together or send them if they are old enough). Places such as the museum, water park, orchard, etc. Structure and schedule helps to keep kids’ energy in check, and who knows, they may actually learn something new!
♦ Dates with Dad – whether you’re a mom who works outside the home or in the home, having time with dad is important. Schedule time for the kids to do an activity just with dad. Creates something new to look forward to and builds a special bond. The project may become a tradition!
♦ Anticipate it before they Ask – overall, most mom’s know what their kids are going to want to do before they even ask. So why dread the question, but rather anticipate their needs and desires. Example would be if you know your girls like sleep overs, plan it for a night that’s best for you, rather than having to run out to the store last minute to get popcorn because you gave in to your daughter’s last minute begging.
♦ Travel Prep List – if you’re going on vacation, plan ahead and make a list of what to bring so it’s not a last minute rush. Especially important if you camp or go to the same vacation spot frequently. Once again, no need to reinvent the ideas every time you pack. (more on this topic to come in future summer posts!)
♦ Chores List – there are always projects that you want your kids to accomplish in the summer – cleaning, summer school, work activity. Have each kid make a list of projects they need to accomplish before summer is over and set an end of summer reward. I remember I always had to memorize 10 bible verses in the summer and clean out my closet.
♦ Prep Snacks ahead of Time – in the freezer or in mini-baggies for healthy, easy options.
♦ MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Spend time with your kids! – Summer can be a time that you want to get your own projects completed, but don’t miss their “play-time” because you’re focused on your to-do list. Schedule your “to do” one or two days of the week, and then enjoy the rest of the time with your kids. Even if you work full time, you can enjoy long evenings of sun and laughter if you are intentional about making the time.
So change your mindset. Don’t make it about survival, because some of the best family memories can be captured in the creativity of summer vacation.
Posted May 21, 2015