By Vicki Little
Ready or not — summer break is coming! We may be in denial due to pasty legs or love handles, but our kids are counting down the days! Here are 10 things you should do BEFORE your child gets out of school:
1) Make a bucket list: First priority: Get everyone’s ideas on what they want to do over the summer and write them down. Check them off as you go!
2) Get your summer stuff organized: Check the expiration dates on sunscreen, try on swimsuits, change the sandbox, fix any pool leaks, inflate sports balls, and clean your pool toys (vinegar works great). Prepare an “outdoor bag” that’s ready to go and includes: sunscreen, towels, flashlight, water bottles, bug spray, extra flip flops and swimsuit (if you have extras).
3) Register for activities/campsites/ and camps and fill in the calendar: Activities fill up fast! Read through the brochures and get your kids registered. Reserve your spot at your favorite campsite and make your plans. If you don’t put it down on the calendar, you may never get around to it.
4) Prepare a list of sitters and last-minute play friends: You’ll be thankful when a work project comes up, or you want a date night, or you’re simply having a moment when you need a break from the kids.
5) Prepare some at-home activities: You can’t be on the go all the time, so have some activities planned for days at home and be prepared for them. Rent a new movie when it’s too hot to go out. Stock s’mores ingredients for a summer-night roast. Prepare a scavenger hunt list ahead of time to fill some of those long summer hours.
6) Set a plan and communicate it: Summer is flexible but it doesn’t mean rules are out the window. Talk with your family about how much electronic time will be allowed, when kids should be in the house and in bed, and how many/what days sleepovers will be allowed. Having a plan can avoid unnecessary fights.
7) Make an “I’m bored” jar: You know you’re going to hear it, so be prepared. Have a jar with slips of paper that the kids can pull from. Include things such as read a book, color, research anything they want and tell you about it, do a puzzle etc. Some families give the option of doing either what they chose from the jar or a chore!
8) Check your camping gear/outdoor toys/car: Check and inflate the tires (on cars and bikes!) and check all fluids. Make sure your tent and camping equipment are in good condition and not missing anything. Check to make sure the swing set is sturdy, and check floaties and pool items for holes and mildew. Make sure to stock a few water bottles in your car in case you get stranded for a bit on hot days!
9) Start looking around for deals: Summer discounts are starting now. Keep up on your searches for water park coupons, season pass deals, special museum days etc. Don’t wait until the day you want to do something to find a discount.
10) Have that last lunch with a friend, shopping trip by yourself, etc.: Your “me” time is about to decrease. Take time now while you still can!
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. When she isn’t writing or trying to keep up with her kids she can be found volunteering, reading, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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Photo by: Svilen Milev