Spring has sprung. The country is thawing. Kids are buckling down for their last months of school.
And if you’re a parent, especially a working parent, the clock is ticking to get your summer plans in order.
Maybe you work from home, or part-time, or perhaps you will be in the office daily during the summer break. Regardless of your situation, when the kids are out of school, you need a plan.
Where will they go?
How much can you afford in terms of camps and excursions?
Do you plan to take some time off as well?
I am fortunate, although jealous, that my own spouse is a teacher. Thus, he is off for the summer to watch the kids and shuttle them from swim lessons to soccer camps to outings at the park. But, like most moms, I take the lead in coordinating the summer calendar.
I book the vacations. I research the camps and classes. I fill in the master calendar, submit the applications and sign the checks.
Hmmm … maybe I need to re-think this arrangement.
But in a seriousness, how do you survive the summer schedule as a working parent?
Consider the following tips:
- Talk with your kids about the experiences they most want to enjoy to prioritize sign-ups. Is it a week at Scout camp, or the opportunity to train at an elite sports academy, or maybe a summer preparing for a big community theater performance? Camps and classes can add up, so chat with your kids about the one or two experiences they will most treasure, and start by financing those. If an experience is ultra-expensive, consider having your child work to raise funds so they understand the investment.
- Sign up for those camps and classes NOW. While it might seem you have months to plan, the best camps and time slots get snatched up quickly. Plus, if you are coordinating schedules for multiple kids, you need to be even more organized. So identify and sign up early.
- Coordinate camp schedules and classes with other moms. As excited as your child may be to attend a special camp, it is always nice to go with a friend. Especially if you are signing your child up for a sleep-away camp, having a buddy can ease homesickness and nerves. And unless your child is going to camp every week, you might need to arrange childcare for select days or weeks. Perhaps another mom can assist, or consider tapping grandparents or local family members.
- Identify special summer performances or celebrations you’d like to attend and immediately drop them into your own personal and work calendars. Many camps culminate with a final game or awards ceremony. Of course your kids will want someone to attend, so make sure a parent can accommodate and enjoy the celebration.
- Don’t forget to schedule a few family adventures. In the midst of all of the camp chaos, try to take some time to vacay with your own family. Go big or go small. The point is to spend time with one another. Schedule beach days or leisurely dinners al fresco. Take a road trip. Visit an amusement park. While it can be painful to plan and prep for a family vacation, especially with younger kids in tow, the memories are priceless.
So start sniffing your suntan lotion for inspiration and jump on the summer-planning scheduling. Better yet, enlist your spouse to help. June, July and August are right around the corner. And if you forget, I’m sure the kids will remind you. My children are already in countdown mode!
Do you have any tips to add? Share them.