Summer is (almost!) here! For many, this realization comes with conflicted feelings. We joyfully await the warmer weather and time outside, more relaxed schedules, and increased time with family and friends. Summer can also bring more complicated family schedules, challenges of being out of routines, and sometimes, an overload of social events. Here are a few things you can do to optimize your summer enjoyment:
Organize Your Schedules
The good news is that you’ve already done the hard work- waking up at 2:00 a.m. on a Tuesday to register your children for camp, negotiating with umpteen relatives to rent that perfect house on the water, and making an amazing pitch to your boss for a flexible work schedule for the summer. To reap the benefits of all your herculean feats, take some time to go back through the registrations, emails, and paperwork, and note the dates and details of every event on your calendar (either digital or hardcopy). Be sure to share this information with your spouse or partner, if applicable (or use a shared/family calendar)
For vacations, start making reusable lists for packing and going away to-dos (stop the mail, have someone water your plants, etc.). We suggest having these lists digitally so that they are accessible wherever you have a thought pop into your mind.
Now is the time to arrange for house sitters, pet boarding, and carpools. Put reminders on your calendar to confirm these arrangements as you get closer to your vacation dates and start of camps.
Prepare Your Family
Change, even positive or welcome change, can be difficult for adults and even scary for children. It can be helpful to make sure that all your summer plans are discussed clearly with your spouse/partner and your children. Show your family the completed calendar (the visual of a hardcopy calendar can be helpful for children) with all your summer plans, and then go into detail, as needed, for each family member:
Spouse/partner: how are work schedules going to be altered? Who is doing drop-offs and pick-ups for camps and other activities? Who is walking the dog during the day?
Children: which camps are they going to? Will they be carpooling with friends? Where are you going on vacation and when?
Clear communication will save you a lot of time and emotional energy. Remember that because schedules tend to change over the course of the summer, you may need to revisit these conversations several times.
Deal with the “Stuff”
Physically preparing for summer can also help to ease the transition:
Wash and put winter clothes away in clear, labeled bins. Make sure to weed out any clothes that you (or your children) no longer like or fit into.
Wash all the outer winter clothes- coats, snow pants, gloves, hats, etc. Store in clear, labeled bins as well.
Wipe down boots and other winter equipment, such as skis and sleds. Discard any that no longer fit or are past their usefulness.
You will thank yourself next fall!
Taking the time and effort to prepare will help you and your family fully enjoy this season that flies by way too quickly. You will be able to sit back, relax and say, “bring on summer!”