Setting Your Family Up for Summer Success
Can you feel it?
That nearly tangible electricity in the air?
No, your A/C isn’t on the fritz. That’s the anticipation of the long, languid months of summer. And if your family is anything like mine, all of you are aching for the relief of it. The break in routine. The chance to slow it down a little bit. Even if your kids are going to camps or daycare or summer school, there’s still something about summer that just begs us to take a minute and breathe.
For me, as a public school teacher, it’s a chance for me to spend some much-needed time with my own kids after investing time and energy into 100+ other kids. A chance to rest, care for my house, and plan for the upcoming year. And if I’m honest, I can’t wait.
However, I know how it’s going to go. The first two, maybe three, days will be glorious. Then the boredom will set in.
I’ve learned in my 14 years of parenting that in order for things to run smoothly, I need to have a plan—even if it’s just a loose guide—to keep us from spiraling into the grumpy-infused chaos of simply winging it all summer.
Even if you homeschool, or your kids attend year-round school, there are some things we can do to help set our families up for summer success.
Plan all the camps, VBS-es, trips, etc. and get them on the calendar. Of course, last minute things always pop up, and spontaneity can be one of the greatest of summer joys. But by and large, if you plan ahead and find which VBS your kids will attend, mark down when your teen is heading to youth camp (and all the fundraisers to get them there), any summer classes or special events you want to attend, your spontaneity will have a firm foundation upon which to flourish.
Have a scheudle/routine. I know. For some of you, that phrase makes you extra twitchy. In our house, we keep our routine very fluid. I have a basic list of things that need done every day. The order in which those things get done doesn’t usually matter. But we all function better when we wake up having some idea what is expected of us. I used this daily to-do list as an inspiration for my own list. Everything on this list must be completed before the kids can have any screen time at all. Tweak your list to fit your needs, but I’m attaching a free PDF of my own list for your inspiration. You’ll notice I don’t have “Play outside" on my list. That’s because we live in Phoenix where it regularly reaches 120 F (49 C) and we can’t do that. Like I said, tweak your list to fit your family’s needs.
Be flexible with your schedule/routine. The beauty of summer is that we often have a much more flexible schedule. There are days in which we throw the list out the window and go out and blow the day having fun. Do that! Make those memories and redeem the time you have.
Plan ahead for Back to School. Mark the first day of school on your calendar, and count back 2-3 weeks. Begin moving bedtime earlier by a few minutes each night so that the night before school the kids aren’t wigging out at suddenly trying to fall asleep at 8:00 when they’d been staying up until 10 or 11. I give my favorite tips for Curbing the Back to School Chaos here. And some ways to start the school year off as a blessing here.
I’d love to hear how you set yourself and your family up for summer success! What other ideas would you add here?
I hope you have a wonderful, safe, fun summer!
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