Summer is a season filled with warmth, adventure, and so many fun memories with our kids. However, it can also be so difficult to navigate the unstructured days and keep everyone entertained. Getting ready for summer, long before it comes, can set the stage for a summer that is both enjoyable and organized for the whole family. You deserve to have a summer that you’ll love. Let’s get started!
Preparing for summer with kids
Not sure how to get ready for a summer with your kids around? Here’s a few ideas to help you get started!
Kick off summer with a count down or special tradition
Infuse a touch of magic at the start of summer by creating a special tradition or advent calendar. This could involve small daily surprises or activities leading up to the first day of summer, building excitement and anticipation for the season ahead. I’m planning on creating a paper chain countdown for the last two weeks of school that lead up to the first day of summer! We’re also planning on taking the kids for ice cream as soon as that last school bell rings!
Set realistic expectations and communicate them
Remember that summer can take on different shapes and forms for each family. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your children, and communicate those expectations openly. Discuss the balance between structured activities and free time, ensuring that everyone understands the guidelines for the summer ahead.
Last summer, I didn’t do a great job with this, and I found myself stressed and overscheduled midway through June. It took a minute to realign our family and our summer goals. Think through your days now, otherwise it’s easy to let things get out of hand with too many activities, or even too much screentime.
Set summer goals
While it’s important not to overdo it with overscheduling, setting some summer goals can be beneficial. Consider what skills or experiences would be useful for your family. It could be as simple as teaching your older kids to use the washing machine or cook pancakes. These goals will give you a sense of purpose and provide opportunities for growth and learning. My kids will be getting a new chore during the summer months…cooking dinner once a week. And they are so excited to do it!
Make time for friends
Before the busyness of summer sets in, reach out to your child’s friends’ parents and exchange contact information. Set up playdates, beach days, or other activities that allow your children to spend quality time with their friends. Scheduling these in advance ensures that your calendar doesn’t fill up too quickly, and your kids have opportunities for social interaction throughout the summer.
Not sure how to contact the parent’s of your child’s friends? Send contact information cards to school with your child so they can easily get your number to their friends.
Create routines and schedules
Having a predictable routine and schedule during summer can provide structure and help children feel secure. Work with your family to create a flexible routine that allows for both planned activities and downtime. Establishing consistent meal times, bedtimes, and designated activity blocks can help maintain a sense of order and balance.
Need more help with summer routines and schedules? Grab our Summer Thrive Kit here.
Make a summer “bucket list”
Sit down as a family and create a summer “bucket list” of activities and experiences you’d like to enjoy together. Include both exciting outings and relaxing downtime. By scheduling these activities in advance, you can ensure that you make the most of your summer while also allowing for rest and rejuvenation.
Need ideas for a summer bucket list? Read: 100+ Family Summer Bucket List Ideas
Plan “memory-making” activities
Include a few special activities on your summer calendar that are geared towards creating lasting memories. This could involve a family camping trip, a day at an amusement park, or a homemade ice cream party. These planned experiences will give everyone something to look forward to and create cherished moments.
These “memory-making” activities don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming either! Last summer we decided to do haircuts on the back patio and our boys loved running around shirtless as we cut their hair in the summer sun. It was such a simple thing, but became a lasting memory.
Be prepared for boredom with a bored jar
Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be moments when boredom strikes. Create a “bored jar” filled with activity ideas that your children can draw from when they’re feeling uninspired. Include suggestions like reading a book, playing a board game, doing a craft, or having a dance party. This simple solution can help combat boredom and spark creativity.
Need ideas for a bored jar? Read: 60+ Bored Jar Ideas
Plan meals and snacks
Summer can often feel like a never-ending cycle of meal preparation, especially with hungry children constantly seeking snacks. Plan meals and stock up on healthy snacks in advance to streamline the process. Consider involving your children in meal planning and preparation, teaching them valuable skills and creating a sense of ownership.
Explore free or inexpensive community activities
Research local community activities, such as free concerts, outdoor movie screenings, or summer festivals. Put these events on your calendar and make a point of attending. Engaging in these activities allows your family to have fun while also taking advantage of the community resources available to you without breaking the bank.
Tackle screen time wisely
While screen time can be a tempting option for keeping kids occupied during the summer, it’s important to establish healthy limits. Set clear guidelines for screen usage, and encourage alternative activities such as outdoor play, reading, or engaging in creative projects. Consider implementing screen-free days or designated screen time blocks to strike a balance between technology and real-world experiences.
Prevent the “summer slide”
Summer break can lead to a loss of academic progress known as the “summer slide.” To combat this, communicate with your child’s teachers before the break and inquire about recommended summer learning activities. Enroll your child in a summer online program or provide them with a workbook to maintain their skills. Additionally, create a summer reading list and encourage regular reading to foster a love for learning.
Every summer I pick up one of these workbooks for my kids. They are a fantastic way to keep school fresh for your kids!
Gather essential supplies
Prepare for the summer season by gathering supplies that will make your life easier. Stock up on items like swimsuits, sandals, sunscreen, bug spray, sidewalk chalk, outdoor toys, and first aid essentials. Having these items readily available will save you time and ensure that you’re well-prepared for any adventure that comes your way.
Build in time for yourself
As a parent, it’s essential to carve out time for self-care and personal rejuvenation. Brainstorm moments throughout the summer when you can have time to yourself. It could be waking up early to enjoy a few minutes alone, scheduling a workout session, or having a date night with your partner. Prioritize your well-being to recharge and better meet the needs of your family.
Plan a vacation or getaway
Consider planning a vacation or getaway during the summer. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive—simply a change of scenery that allows your family to relax and bond. Growing up my family couldn’t afford a lot of vacations. But I know that every summer we’d have a camping trip together. I looked forward to those trips so much.
Whether it’s a weekend camping trip, a visit to a nearby beach, or exploring a local attraction, having something to look forward to adds excitement and creates lasting memories.
Implement a chore system
With kids being home all the time during summer, it’s essential to establish a chore system that involves everyone’s participation. Assign age-appropriate tasks and rotate responsibilities to keep things fair. By involving children in household chores, you teach them valuable life skills and instill a sense of responsibility and teamwork.
Need age-appropriate chore ideas? Read: Kids Chores By Age
Try out power hour
To keep your home organized and prevent overwhelm, designate a “power hour” each day for everyone in the family to tackle household tasks together. Set a timer for 60 minutes and focus on cleaning, organizing, or completing small projects as a team. This approach promotes productivity and prevents chores from piling up.
In our home, we do this most days of the week and it really helps me (as the mom) to feel like I’m not always in catch-up mode!
Clean and organize summer necessities
Take the time to clean and organize your summer essentials, such as beach towels, picnic blankets, outdoor toys, and camping gear. Having these items in good condition and easily accessible will save you time and ensure that you’re ready to seize any spontaneous summer adventure.
Consider summer childcare options
Even if you’re a stay-at-home parent, it’s worth exploring summer childcare options. Plan a few date nights with your partner or arrange for some solo time to recharge.
If traditional paid childcare is not feasible, consider arranging childcare swaps with friends. You take their kids for a day, and they do the same for you on another day. This way, everyone gets a break without incurring additional expenses.
Embrace the potential of summer
With proper planning and organization, summer can indeed be amazing for your family. By setting realistic expectations, creating routines, scheduling activities, and ensuring time for yourself, you can enjoy a season filled with fun, growth, and unforgettable moments. Embrace the potential of summer and make it a time for your family to thrive.
Remember, summer is a precious time to bond with your children and create beautiful memories together. By following these tips and planning ahead, you can make the most of the season while maintaining your sanity and ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for the whole family.
If you’re looking for more guidance and resources to help you thrive during the summer months, consider checking out our Summer Thrive Kit. It’s packed with ideas, activity suggestions, and helpful tools to make your summer planning a breeze.
So, embrace the warmth of the sun, the laughter of your children, and the adventures that await. With a well-prepared summer plan in place, you’ll be ready to make this season truly magical and unforgettable for both you and your kids. Happy summer preparations!