Summer vacation is a mere 12 days away here, and I am already anticipating the slower pace and the relaxed mornings. I love not having to make lunches before I’ve even finished my first cup of coffee. I love spending mornings and evenings at the pool. I love eating mostly salads and grilled everything and anything for dinner every night. I love having all my munchkins home with me all day, every day. As much as I love it though, it does require a certain level of planning to make the summer fun and stress-free.
B is finishing up third grade and G is finishing kindergarten. I have a few summer vacations under my belt, and I’ve learned some lessons I think are important every year. My best tips for a fun and relaxing summer vacation, for moms AND kids:
1) The kids are not used to seeing each other all day, every day–they are used to 7 hours a day spent in school. They WILL get on each others’ nerves. Expect it, and have a plan to diffuse it. Build some quiet/alone time into the days to help them chill out.
2) Even though the days are less structured than during the school year, a little routine goes a long way to maintaining sanity.
3) Just because it is summer vacation doesn’t mean chores aren’t required. Make that clear early on and everyone will be happier (because the house will be relatively clean, so I won’t freak out).
4) Avoid the pool between 1 PM and 4 PM. It’s too damn hot, even in the water.
5) Do one fun project/unusual thing/go somewhere new every week. Make a summer bucket list and check items off of it. It’s summer! Make it memorable! BUT, don’t feel like you have to do something every day–that’s a lot of pressure on a Mom! Once a week is enough.
6) Make homemade popsicles from fruit smoothies. Let the kids eat 3 a day if they want to, since you know there are no artificial ingredients!
7) Read to the kids every day, even if it’s just one book. Make sure the kids who can read on their own are reading a little every day too. Keep a list of the books they’ve finished on the fridge so they can see progress.
8) Relax the rules about bedtimes, play dates, and dinner-before-dessert a little. Sometimes, all you need to make a summer day special is an ice cream sundae for dinner and to stay up late catching fireflies in the yard with the kids next door.
These are the guidelines I’m keeping in mind as I plan our summer days, although I’m sure by the end of August I’ll have some new ones to add to the list.
Tell me, what are your best ideas and tips for a fun and successful summer vacation?