Summer vacation is finally here. The kids are out of school. You no longer have to worry about forgotten lunches or checking grades online. The homework folders have been ceremoniously burned in the back yard fire pit, and the fun is about to begin. Whether you adore spending the summer with your kids or find yourself hiding in a locked bathroom (I will neither confirm nor deny the number of times I've hid out in my closet...), a little planning can go a long way in making this summer memorable, successful, and fun!
Make A Routine
Routines should be more flexible during the summer months, but organizing our time for important activities is just as important as organizing our spaces for them. Decide what's important for you to keep in your family routine. For us it's reading, math, chores, and personal development. So, my kids need to read for 30 minutes, do their chores, and practice the piano or go for a run before they head out to find a friend or turn on the TV. We also have a summer rule that tablets/computers/video games can be played after reviewing math for 30 minutes. We use Kahn Academy (kahnacademy.com) but there are lots of websites, apps, and workbooks that can help kids retain the math they learned during the school year. Do my kids fight it? Yup. Do they get used it it? Yup....eventually.
Scheduling is for More than Just Vacations
Summer vacation may leave your kids with a lot of free time, but chances are you'll be feeling extra busy. With kids' schedules, your schedule, your spouse's schedule, work schedules, and who knows what else there are a lot of things to juggle during the summer months. You may have planned a get-away already but what about the 83 days of freedom? Have a family meeting and discuss what types of things each of you would like to do during the summer months. Everything from hitting a concert to having a lemonade stand can be penciled in to make sure nothing gets left out.
Plan for Fun
All our schedules need to converge into one epic summer of awesomeness. That can be kind of tricky with a family. Plan things out on paper. Grab your family calendar, or click on the calendar below to print your own summer planning calendar, and sit down with the fam to get a good idea of what everyone wants and needs to do between now and the end of August.
Once you have everything down on the calendar transfer it into your phone calendar, planner, or whatever you use to keep your daily schedule.
If you aren't using your smart phone to help keep you on schedule consider giving your google calendar app a try. It's a great tool to use for every day reminders as well as events. I have a google calendar event for balancing my checkbooks, paying bills, having my kids practice piano, and track practice for my oldest son. I promise, I used to remember all those things on my own but the bigger my family got, and the broader my responsibilities got I realized it's not worth it to even try and remember everything. I'd rather write it down and then be able to forget about it. Your smart phone lets you do just that. So use it. It is the greatest time management tool at your disposal and most all of us have it at our fingertips.
Don't Forget the Logistics
Schedule reminders and registration deadlines in your phone as well. If you've planned to go to an outdoor concert in August then you need to buy tickets. If you can't get tickets yet, schedule that in your phone or your planner as well. If you've decided the second week of July is the best time for an epic camp out, you might want to remind yourself to buy a tent...I'm not saying you'll forget these kinds of details, but I confess that I have before. So...maybe, just maybe, there's someone else out there like me. Even simple things like scheduling a reminder to "Find a babysitter for the concert" can help make your summer run smoothly.
Scheduling summer fun helps keep summer days from getting over crowded, or too boring, but it doesn't have to be a rigid, must-follow schedule. If one day you want to throw everything out the window just to head to the pool or the beach, do it. Or stay in your PJs and watch Netflix and eat popsicles because it's just too cussin' hot to do anything else, do it.
Last of all, try to remember that summer should be fun for everyone! Schedule some time for you to do what you like best.