We all know how much we looked forward to the summer holiday when we were kids. We couldn’t wait for the freedom to sleep in, to avoid homework, and just be free.
Now we are parents, and the summer holiday has a whole new meaning for us. We want to be excited for our kids. We help to count down the days and participate in their excitement, but we know what is really ahead of us. The summer holiday is now about us figuring out how to keep our children occupied, safe and happy. It’s about finding activities that keep our kids sane and that tire them out so that they hopefully go to bed early and give us a small break. It’s about not spending a fortune to create fantastic memories for our kids. It’s about organizing, arranging, fighting over sunblock application, struggling with sugar rushes, and preparation for the next school year.
Perhaps we could all get through this summer a little easier and hopefully with a little bit of enjoyment if we attempted to follow some if not all of the following...
20 Hire A Babysitter (ASAP)
Beyond the summer camps both for the day and overnight, you will have times when you will need extra help. It’s normal to want to enjoy your summer just as much as you want your children to enjoy it. And you need to remember to not feel guilty about that. We may be parents, but we are also human. And so, find yourself a reliable babysitter. Find someone who can either sit in your house while your children sleep or someone who is extremely kind and likable who can read books and sing songs with your kids. Everyone needs a break in the summer and you, even the best of parents, deserve the same.
19 Work To Pay For All Summer Activities
Every year it, unfortunately, feels as though we are working to just pay someone else to play with our kids. It doesn’t seem very fair. In fact, sometimes it seems that our only consolation, besides having happy, and very tired kids, are those few Fridays that our employers allow us to take off early. But even then we come home to either overtired children or children who don’t want us to interrupt whatever fun they are having without us. This is the reason why we shouldn't feel guilty spending a little extra money this summer when we do get to actually play with our children. We all deserve it.
18 Arrange Day Camps
Some day camps start their registration as early as February. It feels like a race trying to track down the best choice while making sure it fits your budget. But we must get on it, and early!
Follow their stupid guidelines and be the parent who logs on at exactly 12 o’clock noon because then you will be confident and comfortable with where your child is going. It’s worth the bit of stress in the long-run.
I did. And now both my kids and I are happy about those particular weeks of the summer.
17 Arrange Play Dates
Once the kids are no longer in school, play dates are difficult to arrange, but if you work outside of the home and can’t fill the entire summer with day camps, they can ultimately be the difference between knowing your kids are safe and having fun, and you spending every little bit of your work vacation during the summer months.
Not only will you be confident that they are safe, but play dates can help your kids stay connected to their school friends so that the fall won’t be quite so difficult when school begins again.
Keep in mind, not all summer camps have programs during the shorter weeks of the summer, so there are at least eight days that you will be looking for a little extra care.
16 Secure Possible Overnight Camps
The easiest way to have a little space and time for yourself during the summer months is to find a fantastic overnight camp that your child would like to attend. I’m not suggesting shipping your child off for eight weeks by any means, but a weekend with the scouts or an overnight event in your local museum may be a great way to give your child a chance to create unbelievable summer memories.
I for one am not quite ready for this step, but I can definitely see the advantage in biting the bullet even for one night. And just imagine the stories and the hugs you will receive after such an experience.
15 Schedule Family Trips
This is a must. We want our kids to be happy and have great experiences, but there is no experience more important than that of the family being together. Trips to Niagara Falls, the beach, a road trip across the country, these are all fantastic opportunities for the family to make memories together.
It’s always difficult to get both parents’ schedules working together and even harder for an aging child to agree to spend more than twenty-four hours alone with their immediate family, but this is what the summer is all about for us parents. Plan a trip to Mount Rushmore, or Saskatoon or to the East Coast. You won’t regret spending the money to have your entire family closer together.
14 Check Out Local Events
Most cities host events throughout the summer. Anything from festivals, celebrations, and street parties could be happening right in your own city. And the best part is these events are usually free. Of course, the treats, rides, and food may be a little on the expensive side, but well worth it for an afternoon out with the fam.
Try looking up your city’s website and check out the available activities. If you’re looking to enjoy the summer with a limited budget, city events are a great way to get your kids outside, schedule some family time, and even squeeze in a play date or two. And most of them are scheduled for weekends or statutory holidays.
13 Family Get-Togethers And BBQs
There’s nothing better than a long weekend barbeque with friends and family. As a working mom, you still have errands, chores, and cleaning to do, but when that blessed long weekend rolls around we all suddenly want to host a barbeque. Good food, good adult company, and happy children. What more could a mom ask for?
Just make sure to plan these ahead of time. Reserve that long weekend way in advance so there is no last-minute disappointment when you find out everyone has booked a mini vacation and you’ve already bought all the steaks and drinks.
12 Reorganize The House
Oh, I know this sounds horrible but stay with me, there’s no better time than the summer to make reorganizing the house a family activity. No one can complain about spending their weekend sorting and going through the cumulated junk since they get to spend the entire week playing and doing what they want. I realize this takes away from your weekend, but we all know it needs to get done, and now you have little hands to help you.
And in the end you will feel better, your house will be cleaner, and there will fewer items to clutter your house with. Besides, you’re just about to restock for the new school year so you’ll need the space.
11 Go Through School Supplies And Replenish
Somehow all kids get this idea that they should have their own collection of brand new Hello Kitty pencils, markers, erasers, pencil case and everything else they can possibly think of even though, for the younger grades, all materials are provided for the students. Now, I realize that kids want the best of the newest items, and they want to show their friends, and hopefully share with their friends, but we all need to set limits. The kid inside me is still excited by school supplies even though I have not had any real reason to use them in a couple of decades, and so I do purchase some of my kids’ favorite items. But only some.
10 Go Through Clothes And Replenish
This time of year is really exciting for me since I have an excuse to take my daughters shopping. I’ve learned over the years that more often than not, they already have enough clothes to get them through to the next season. Let’s be honest, who cares. Every child needs a new couple of outfits to wear to (her) first week of school, even if (she) has fully stocked drawers of clothes.
As parents, we will do anything to make them less anxious about their first week. Perhaps the best thing I can suggest is to limit the number of outfits. Go through their clothes and decide what further items will still fit in their drawers. No one wants to attend their first days of a new grade in wrinkled clothes or knowing that their mother is in the poor house.
9 Continue Children’s Reading And Writing
If we don’t encourage our children, more than likely, their reading and writing will fall at the waist side. The summer gets so busy, and days go by so quickly but, this is one of those things that we can’t forget about. Perhaps we can encourage them to write letters to their friends or to join a reading program at the local library that offers rewards and other incentives. Anything that will encourage them to continue exercising their skills over the summer months of fun and frolicking. No parent wants to be called out for not encouraging learning over the summer, and no child wants to go back to school starting at a lower level of reading and writing that they left with.
8 Plan Activities For The Fall
It’s that time of year when the activities come to an end, and you can exhale. You look forward to two months of not racing your children to their classes and sports, scheduling their activities and paying out your nose for them. BUT. It is also the time of year to start planning for the fall. The sooner you figure out what your children are doing, the sooner you can register them, pay for it and then relax. It’s annoying to have to do this just as the summer is starting I realize, but you also want to make sure you get them in everything both they and you want them to be in. So take the time to talk to them, figure it out, and register early. The earlier, the less disappointment.
7 Clean All School Bags And Lunch Bags
We all know why. We don’t have to talk about the dirt and rocks and still wet paintings that have been shoved into their backpacks. We don’t need to mention the rotten fruit inside their lunch bags, the moldy sandwiches that have spent the holidays or the stickiness that is always in those lunch bags no matter how many times we clean them. The smell is so extremely unappetizing that we normally ignore it when we are in a rush to get them off to school. All of these bags just need to be washed. No questions. Ever.
6 Make Sure They Don't Sleep The Summer Away
I have one kid who gets up with me every morning no matter what time I get up, but my other child would sleep the day away like a teenager (she’s only five).
The struggle is real when there is less reason to get up and ultimately fewer consequences if you don’t get up. Not to mention the later nights, and the hot, sticky mornings...If I give any advice here, I would suggest not letting your kids stray too far from their school schedule. The further they stray, the harder the fight will be to get them back on track. No one wants a child sleeping till noon over the summer months. Not unless you prefer them sleeping over being awake.
5 Re-Evaluate Packed Lunch Items
One of the most dreaded jobs of a mom is packing the children’s lunches. How do we keep it exciting and healthy and appealing enough that they will eat it? Do you make a variety of sandwiches, or do you use a thermos and pack warm lunches, or do you decide to give in and purchase the hot lunches provided by the school?
I’m a cold lunch person myself. I prefer to pack vegetables, fruits, and cheese with a treat or two. I’m not a fan of canned anything, I try to avoid the processed poop, and even the warm lunches are questionable at times. As far as I’m concerned a young child should not be eating meatloaf or pasta for lunch. But that’s just me.
Whatever you decide to pack, remember to change it up from time to time. Besides breakfast, this is the only fuel your children get during the day until they get back home and can raid the fridge.
4 Chauffeur The Kids
Another fantastic job of a parent is to chauffeur the kids to all of their activities, friends’ houses, parks and more. The summer becomes even more filled with ‘taxi mom’ because of all the extra time the kids have. So much so, that you can expect to rearrange your work schedule around these drives. Were you looking forward to getting off work early on Friday to sit down and enjoy a little siesta? Oops, too bad; your son needs to be driven to the movies and your daughter needs to be chauffeured from her day camp to her friend’s house.
I may be a strict mom but I definitely limit these drives, and if they don’t work within my time restraints then they just don’t happen. I guess you need to weigh out the pros with the cons. Perhaps taking an extra hour to get them all across town and dropping them off is worth the couple of hours you get to yourself before you’re back out on the road to collect them again.
3 Maintain Bedtime Routines
There definitely is a certain feeling of freedom when you don’t have to cut up your evening fun by putting your kids to bed. There is no reason to get up early in the morning so you let them stretch their bedtime by an hour, or two, or three...You get more time to relax and enjoy your evening and they get to run themselves ragged.
But here’s the thing; you still have to put them to bed once they are ‘ragged’ and you still need to get them up in the morning when they want nothing to do with it.
By giving them something their little brains think they want and by getting lazy with enforcing bedtime; you are ultimately setting both of you up for failure. I’m not saying to never let them stay up late, but just know that when you do there will probably be breakdowns, temper tantrums, and yelling. So stick to the same schedule to at least some extent. Remember, you will still have to struggle to get them back on track within only two months.
2 Keep Personal Social Life Alive
Amidst all the craziness the summer can bring to you and your family, it is so extremely important to find a way to continue to have a social life of your own. It’s a hard thing to remember, or to make time for as you are going day to day struggling to please everyone, and give them all the best summer you can. It’s a lot of pressure and can be quite stressful. So for the sake of everyone in your family make some plans for yourself. Arrange for the babysitter to come in after the kids are asleep and head out for a date night, buy tickets to the theatre, go for a bike ride with some friends; whatever it takes to make you feel like yourself and not just a mom.
1 Give Encouraging Pep Talks
There is a lot of anxiety and fear about each new school year; the new teacher, the new classroom and group of classmates. Will your best friend be in your class? Will you fit in? Our job is not limited to just getting our kids physically and mentally ready to go to school, it’s also about getting them emotionally ready. This may take a bit of bribery, some strong encouragement, a lot of hugs and ego stroking and perhaps even a bit of white lies. And sometimes, a kid, no matter what age, just needs her/his mom to hold their hand and walk them to school on the first day...