Here at CoolKid we are all about embracing the moments as they come, but also setting aside the time to plan for the ones on the horizon. Summer is no different. As the old saying goes, fail to plan and you will plan to fail. I can confidently assume that no mama wants to fail summer! Here is a bucket list for all of you mamas on the dawn of summer, ready to tackle it with all you’ve got!
1. Before the last day of school, buy summer workbooks in writing, vocabulary, math and some fun games/exercises for each child in their approaching grade level. We like to have fun, but not whilst losing all of our skills. These books are an essential way to start or break up the fun of summer days. I also purchase a fun reading book for each child to get their summer reading program off to a healthy start. These, these and these are great.
2. Hit the target dollar spot and gather armloads of random crafts, activities, and junk to put in what I call the “Bored Bin”. I use a plastic tub and collect boredom busters that the kids can pilfer from as needed. This is more of an emergency kit than it is for daily use. Thank me later 🙂
3. Set a schedule for the weeks or days you will be at home. For example Tuesdays we will go to the library to refresh our book selections and Wednesdays we will play with water whether we have a water balloon fight, go swimming, or shoot squirt guns. Planning ahead manages expectations of both me and my children.
4. Take the extra time to turn an ordinary activity into a memory. During summer we have more picnics, art days, pickup soccer games and bike rides than normal. A little extra effort goes a long way, and during summer there are those extra moments to spare- enjoy!
5. Swap kids with friends to give and receive that elusive alone time to recharge your batteries. There is nothing worse than a cranky mom to burst the summer fun bubble. Know when to sneak away to rest and don’t feel guilty to throw on a movie or ask a friend to host the playdate at their home, then offer to do the same next week!
6. Stock your fridge and pantry, I repeat, stock your fridge and pantry. There is nothing worse than being the home with no snacks (slight exaggeration). I like to hit the Grocery Outlet and sometimes even the dollar store for high protein, low sugar snacks to fill my kitchen. Favorites include trail mix, beef jerky, tangerines, apples with peanut butter dip cups, homemade popsicles, yogurt, seaweed packs, fruit leather and more! Trust me on this, buy twice as much as you think you need.
7. Pack a ‘go bag’ to keep near the door or in the car. There have been times when I wanted to pick up and head out, only to find we were not prepared in the least. Keep a bag filled with essentials for any day you may encounter: diapers/wipes, a towel or two, changes of clothes, extra socks, sweatshirts, snacks, sunblock, water bottles, chapstick, $50 cash, 5 hour energy drink for mom 🙂 and anything else you typically find yourself needing. This makes a quick exit possible and you will pat yourself on the back when you can be out of the house in under 5 minutes.
8. Sit down with your kids and have them write a “bucket list” of items big and small they hope to do this summer. Can be as simple as learning to skateboard or as difficult as reading all 7 Harry Potter books. Getting them involved takes some of the pressure off of you, and allows them to have input and get excited about summer to make the days longer and sweeter.
9. Summer meals are always tough for me, since most days are spent poolside or out of the house all day. I find its hard to cook regularly and meal plan like I do during the school year. One way I keep myself on track is always having at least 2 meals in the freezer that I can heat and serve. This may mean making double batches of your families’ favorite so you can stash one for later. This tiny step has saved me many times when in a pinch. Also, I tend to stretch meals into two, with slight variations. Grilled tri tip turns into Beef & Broccoli for the next day. Grilled chicken is cut up and turned into chicken salad for tomorrow’s lunch. This may be a no brainer for many of you, but especially over summer, making the time spent cooking stretch into one, two even sometimes three different meals makes all the difference.
10. Make your own summer list. Find and identify things about yourself you want to work on whether its reading more, learning a language, becoming more patient, and make a list to help you achieve those goals. Just because its technically time off for many of us, doesn’t mean we can’t take the extra time we are given and put it toward good use for our mind body and spirit. Take the morning run you never have time for, sign up for the painting class at the community center, join the book club you always hoped to have time for. You will be better for it, and your kids will think its neat to watch Mom go after some of her goals, as simple as they may or may not be.
These are just some ways I have found to help me keep summer rolling and on the positive. Here is hoping you have a magical summer and are able to squeeze every ounce out of this time with your sweet kiddos.