Summer is officially here—woohoo! It’s easy to love this season of sun and fun, but it can also get stressful really quickly when routines are turned upside down and the pressure mounts to keep your kids entertained and your house from getting wrecked on the daily. I’m here to help with this Summer Survival Guide!
Last month we talked about summer prep, and hopefully you’ve gotten started on that to-do list to get your house ready for more time with the kids at home. Summer is a great time to get some systems set up in your home to help your kids be more independent, and that will be our theme here on the blog for the next month. Seriously, I LOVE LOVE LOVE helping my clients set up systems to empower their kids, keep their homes looking neat and organized, AND save them time and energy—it’s exactly what every parent needs!
Whether your kids are home with you all summer or heading off to a different summer camp each week, I’ve got tips to make things run smoothly. Here are a few to get you started…
- Snack Station: Make a snack station at kid level so kids can reach their own snacks throughout the day. This solves two tiresome issues: the dreaded, near-constant questions of 1) “I’m hungry!” and 2) “Will you get me a snack, please, Mom?!”
- Sunday Prep Day: Sunday prep day is vital to the school year and it’s still important in the summer. Prep healthy snacks and meals for the week. Look at the calendar and plan any summer activities you don’t want to miss. And if your kids are going to camp, doing prep on Sunday for lunches and gear they’ll need will make mornings easier.
- Label Everything: Summer activities come with lots of gear: water bottles, towels, bags with a change of clothes, lunches, sports equipment, you name it. Label EVERYTHING, so if/when it does get lost, it can be easily returned to you. I love LabelDaddy.com and Mabel’s Labels! They have beautiful, durable labels for everything.
- The One Per Day Rule: Do your kids grab a new glass every time they’re thirsty and now your sink is overflowing? Give everyone a special glass, tumbler, or water bottle. Either pick a unique one for each member of the family or put names on them. If you have littles, pick water bottles that are spill proof and you’re good to go!
- Scheduled Cleanup Time: More time at home means more time to play with toys, make blanket forts, pull all of the books off the shelves…you get the picture. Pick a time of day that works for you, maybe right before dinner or at the end of the day. The most important part: put on music! Cleaning to music is always better! And you can use it as motivation, “Do you think we can get this room picked up before the song ends?!” Depending on the ages of your kids, either assign different rooms/zones to each person or clean together. Either way, you’ll be better off than when you started!
- Make a Plan for Technology: Even with camps and planned activities from your family’s Summer Bucket List, there will inevitably be more down time on those long summer days, and the temptation for more screen time is an easy one to give in to. If you don’t already have them (or if they need an update for summer), now is the time to make a list of “Tech Rules” for your family. Sit down together to go over the expectations, allowing for input from your kids, too. When you’re done coming up with a list together, post it on the fridge to maintain accountability.
- The “I’m Bored List”: Camp is over, it’s raining, screen time has been used up, now what?? Have a brainstorming session early in the summer to come up with a list of activities or projects that kids can do when boredom strikes. Keep a checklist on the fridge or put the ideas on popsicle sticks to draw from a jar as needed.
Think about how your home will be used this summer, how you want to feel this summer, and what memories you want to make. Set your priorities, give these new systems a try, then make tweaks so you set everyone up for success!
With all the extra time at home, you may also want to invest time in teaching your kiddos to take on more responsibilities around the house. Over the next month, watch this space. I’ll be posting in-depth about my technique for teaching kids life skills, with a special emphasis on laundry. Talk soon, and in the meantime, have an EXCELLENT summer.