Whoever coined the phrase “lazy days of summer” didn’t have a full house-hold of family members on the go. Whether you are a stay at home parent or you work full time, we all seem to have high hopes and expectations for our summer plans and projects. We assume that since the kids are out of school, we will automatically have more time get things done while planning our summer away. But how many times do you find yourself in the complete opposite scenario? Between juggling daycare, camp, play dates, and appointments with scheduled day trips to the beach, camping, vacations, we find our time dwindling and there’s even less time for the day to day things we need to get done.
We get used to the normal school day clutter with the backpacks, homework, computers and projects, but the summer months tend to lead to a different kind of clutter mixed with a sense of chaos. There may still be backpacks and bags laying around, but now they are filled with sunscreen and beach towels, school projects are replaced with crafts and computers that are normally used for homework are used for games and watching movies. On top of that, we have remnants from our day trips and more than the ordinary amount of snacks laying around (who doesn’t have family members who snack more when home) and schedules that have gone by the wayside? If you used to be able to put 20 minutes aside for after bed time to organize, you might find that extra time dwindle as kids aren’t adhering to normal schedules and your wiped out after a long day.
Here we’ll touch on ways to keep your summer organized and a bit less chaotic.
Make and post your schedule where everyone can see it. While many busy families use electronic calendars on their phones or ipads, having a physical calendar for everyone to check is helpful when things get hectic. Try using a chalkboard or dry-erase board and keep it where all family members have easy access to it. You can take it a step further and color code each person and activity when updating the calendar.
Even though the kids might think their work is done for the summer, keep them in the habit of having responsibilities by assigning chores. Present the chores to be done on a calendar and specify a day for each, or list them on sticky notes near the calendar and have them grab a pre-determined amount each day for completion. This will not just help keep them focused, but will also help keep you and your house organized.
Prep snacks in advanced. When you on the go or have friends and family over for visits, having snacks ready to grab-and-go will have alleviate messes in the kitchen and will prevent you from having to take the time each time someone needs a quick something to eat. Keep non-refrigerated snacks in baggies or stackable containers and leave in the pantry or in a basket on the table for easy access. Also, try pre-cutting fruits and vegetables and storing them in a drawer in the refrigerator. Kids are more likely to grab the healthier snack when it pre-cut and easy to grab.
Keep a wicker basket or extra laundry basket handy to keep clean pool towels and bathing suits. This helps to avoid having drawers emptied or closets torn apart when the kids get home and want to jump in the pool to cool off!
Keep a routine. As simple as this sounds, this is actually very difficult for many in the summer. As often as possible, try to adhere to a bedtime, even if it’s a modified bedtime for the summer. Maintaining bedtime will also help them to keep a morning routing in check. Its always nice to lounge around the house every now and then, but try to enforce breakfast about the same time each day so going back to school is harder that it needs to be. Have your kids read a book multiple times a week to keep up with reading skills and to maintain the habit.
Prepare ahead of time for those days when you kids say their bored. Search online for crafts projects and gather the supplies ahead of time. Stock shelves or baskets with summer reading options, board games and cards.
One of the most important things you can do is take step back from the chaos and enjoy the days as they come. Summer goes by too quickly. Use these organizing tips, and any others that work for you, and make it a point to take time to sit back and enjoy the rest of your summer. Don’t just make play dates for the kids, be sure to schedule some adult time with friends also. Enjoy the campfires, beach and frosty drinks before it time to pull out the hoodies and hot chocolate.