With the end of our school year coming to a close, I thought there might be other parents experiencing anxiety about the upcoming summer months. This is what I’ve gone through with having four kids very close in age at the end of June and the best way to calm myself is to make a summer ‘to do’ list with the kids. After making these lists as a family – I find myself less stressed about keeping 4 busy kids (that have very different personalities) happy during July and August. First you need to decide that it’s going to be the best summer ever!
Great summer vacations don’t mean expensive!
No matter what vacation plans, camp, or classes you have planned for your children, you control your own destiny during the summer months. Decide that it’s going to be the best summer yet and include lots of budget friendly, free activities. Heading into a forest, hiking, swimming at the beach, exploring, bike riding, organizing a park day to play soccer or games is free. We all know kids are happy doing anything with friends so spread the word to other parents on the last day of school to organize some ‘meet ups’ over the summer. I haven’t booked my kids in a single class this summer. Normally I have a few things lined up but we are taking things as they come this year. I love trying new things with the kids during the summer so tennis, circus school or horseback riding lessons were a re-occurring request from all my kids so worth researching for lessons.
Here is what our lists looks like this year!
Get something accomplished!
Families are busy during the school year. Our kids are in school, sports, attending birthday parties during the school year. Take advantage of some down time over the summer months and cross something off your own ‘to do’ list while you’re spending more time at home. A few of theses items on my own list are get to the dermatologist, dentist, and de-clutter clothes and old toys.
Mix Things Up!
On our summer list each family member (including mom and dad) got to pick 4 main activities/vacation dream/events they would like to accomplish this summer. We put down whatever pops into the kids’ heads but they understand that the request to Disneyland (for example) is only a wish — not a guaranteed vacation. We’ve never left the Province of BC with our kids, opting for local vacations each summer. All the kids want to go to Disneyland or Whistler. I really want to travel to Tofino and watch the whales jump in the ocean. It’s something I’ve always wanted to see, but after seeing the young Humpback that died on a local beach this month (read here) I really want to show my children how they can be healthy and thriving in our BC oceans and teach them the importance of keeping our oceans healthy for these beautiful animals. Another dream on my list is to go on a farm-cation. No I don’t think working on a farm is a vacation – but I’d love the experience with my family of seeing all the hard work behind a farm to gain more appreciation for such an under appreciated profession. Hopefully that is changing as we’ve learned the value of farming and supporting local food this year.
So we have ‘dream’ items on the list but also activities that are easy for me to make happen – visiting an outdoor pool, visiting a farm, picking berries, etc. This also helps me throughout the summer when I’m feeling frazzled and need to take the kids out. I’ll remember to take them to the local pottery store, pick fresh berries, visit a local farm to see the animals, go swimming outdoors. These are all possible for me and by the end of the summer you can look back and remember all the fun activities and time spent together. Whew – I’m already feeling a little tired <smile> but very excited for summer to get here!