23 May Ready, Set, Go! Tips for Preparing For The Summer Season
It’s almost that time again. A time when children start counting down the days to the end of their school term, and parents start wondering: how are we going to survive three months of unstructured living with teens and little ones home all day?
Not to worry!
In this post, we offer some suggestions for prepping for the summer season. Follow these ideas and you’ll find the relaxed fun of summer much more enjoyable for you, too.
1) Have a family meeting to review everyone’s summer wish list.
Now is the time for finding out who wants what this summer. Does your youngest want to go to science camp? Does your teenager want to start driving lessons with an accredited instructor? Does everyone want to rent a cottage for two weeks? And don’t forget to ask your nanny what their plans are! If they are planning to be away for two or three weeks, you need to know the dates, to decide how you’ll handle childcare in their absence. (Here’s a very helpful link for finding camps of all kinds across America: https://find.acacamps.org).
2) Create a shared calendar.
It’s important to have a schedule of activities on your phone or laptop, of course. But you should start one that everyone can see and add to as plans are firmed up in the coming weeks. For example: let’s say your teen plans to go away with friends for a two-day trip. If it’s on the family calendar, you will make sure you don’t rent a cottage during dates that conflict with their plans.
3) They may be on vacation, but they should still help out!
Children of all ages love summer. However, they should still stick to assigned chores and help with seasonal ones, like raking the yard and cleaning up the basement or garage. Ask them to help you organize the house so you are all ready for summer. That may mean cleaning up around the pool or any other task that you do every year to maintain the home. The sooner these things are taken care of, the sooner the whole family can shift into summer mode.
4) Go through your child’s closet and get rid of old clothing.
Every child grows a lot between one summer and the next, so clearing out items that don’t fit is essential. Figure out what can be donated to charity. Check whether their swimsuit still fits. The same goes for summer footwear – chances are last year’s sandals won’t measure up this year. Make a list of what your child needs for the season, and as soon as summer stock arrives, go shopping. Go through your own wardrobe as well, and replace worn out shoes, clothes, and other summer items like tote bags and handbags.
5) Organize a summer “tool kit.”
By this, we mean to choose a place to keep summer essentials, like hats, sunscreen, towels for the beach, and other assorted items. Make sure your child has a refillable water bottle to take on play dates and walks. And don’t forget to take stock of your first aid kit! Replace the bandage supply and other necessities that may have depleted since last summer.
6) Draft a list of summer expenses.
Now is the time to review your resources and check if there is any shortfall. The fees of summer camps keep rising, food costs are increasing, and other unanticipated expenses may crop up. Have you found, for example, that cottages for rent are costlier than you expected? If so, can you afford the increase, or will you have to implement “plan B” for the family holiday? Having a contingency plan in case something doesn’t work out is crucial. Perhaps the family can rent a cottage with friends or another family member, to reduce costs. Or perhaps you can rent a place for two weeks instead of three. The point here is that it’s important to know what you’ll do if your first choice for summer vacation can’t be realized.
7) Keep your sense of humor!
Not every detail may work out exactly as everyone hopes but set a good example by remaining cheerful and upbeat. If your youngest can’t get into theater camp because it’s full, don’t let them dwell in discouragement. Find something else that fits with their dreams, and talk it up! Part of your role as summer coordinator is acting as a cheerleader, so even if some things don’t work out, have lots of other options at hand for the family to pour over.
8) Make sure others know your travel schedule.
It’s wise to fill others in when you’re going away during the summer months. You don’t want relatives announcing plans to “pop by” during the week you are out of town, right? Also, make sure you inform the security company connected to your home’s alarm system of the dates you’ll be gone (if applicable). Tell them how to reach you in case of an emergency. And don’t announce your departure date on social media. Security experts have cautioned that empty houses have been targeted lately by robbers because they are easier to access. It’s highly unlikely, we know, but err on the side of caution and post vacation pictures when you get back, instead.
Summer vacation is a wonderful time for families because they spend more time together in a relaxed way that is also busy and active. As long as you get to spend time with your children, even though they are constantly on the go, most parents are happy to sit back and watch the whirlwind unfold. Carve out at least a week or two for the family to spend together, doing fun activities like swimming, hiking, and getting lots of time off screens and in the fresh air. These are the times that create lasting memories that everyone will cherish for years to come.