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The first few days of summer vacation are usually pure bliss – the kids just want to sleep in, enjoy some carefree days and detox from the busy school year. After a few days, though, everyone gets bored – or the house begins to resemble a war zone, complete with pint-sized combatants.
You can make the most of summer vacation and not just survive but thrive, but planning out some fresh activities and pre-planning some activities and supplies. Use one or more of these hacks to make the most of your summer break and ensure you can actually enjoy this relaxing and beautiful season in the sun.
Summer Break Survival Tips For Busy Moms
1. Make an Easy to Follow Schedule
Independent readers and older kids can easily identify “what we’re doing” today and what’s coming up next when you create a schedule. You don’t have to overdo it, but having a plan for the day does help cut the amount of time the kids spend fighting, in front of screens or aimlessly wandering.
Use our creative printable to create a kid-friendly schedule and you’ll be able to manage everyone’s activities, play times and downtime with ease. Make sure you incorporate some time for yourself as well, whether you set the kids up with camp or a visit with Grandma, you’ll feel less frazzled if you get some alone time each week, too.
2. Create a Snack Bar
The kitchen can become a disaster zone if older kids are able to rummage through the cabinets and fridge, while younger ones will keep you busy asking for snacks and other items. You can cut down on junk food consumption and make it easier for yourself and the kids by creating a snack bar.
Fill a basket with single serving sizes of favorite snacks like pretzels or granola bars; kids can access the basket when they want something instead of pulling boxes and bags from the pantry. You can make your own snack sized servings using plastic bags and add to the basket as needed.
A second basket or bin can go in the fridge; file with snack sized bags of cut veggies, dips and single servings of yogurt and fruit. Kids can easily serve themselves and you won’t feel like you are running a food truck out of your kitchen.
3. Have a Rainy-Day Strategy
While outside fun is the name of the game in summertime, you’ll need to have a strategy in place to keep things interesting when it rains. Prepare in advance by setting aside a few complete activities; you can add them to a special rainy-day box and simply pull the box out as needed. What you add to the box is up to you – a trip to the dollar store or even thrift shop can provide you with games, coloring books and other easy to do, time filling activities for very little cost. Place a few items for each child and dole out as the day progresses.
The magic of the rainy-day box is that the toys and items are new and novel; make sure these toys can’t be accessed until you are ready to pull them out. Some ideas for your box include:
- Simple craft kits (that come with all components needed)
- Glow sticks (in case the power goes out)
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Small, entertaining toys like jacks, pickup sticks or single person puzzle games.
When the rain stops, collect the items and return the reusable ones to the box until next time. Find an out of the way place to store the selection you’ve chosen an you’ll be ready to go on a rainy day – before the first “I’m bored” is uttered.
4. Prepackage Activities
We love those big, gallon sized zip top bags for corralling projects and you will too, once you try this technique. Pre-prep a craft activity or two by adding the required items to a bag, and including a copy of the directions or a printout featuring the project. Use small containers with lids to hold beads and other small embellishments and kids as young as 6 or 7 years can complete a project mostly independently.
BY pre-prepping, you have control over the amount of paint or glue used and cleanup is a breeze – the finished project can be displayed with pride and all the trash can go back in the bag for easy cleanup. This is also an ideal activity to do outdoors to cut down on mess, just grab a pre-prepped bag and go. Store crafty projects in a single bag or basket and distribute when you need some downtime.
5. Color Code Beach and Pool Gear
Have more than one kid? Color coding their gear makes it easier to see what you have and what you are missing as you head out the door. A beach bag, towel, goggles and other pieces in a single color allows kids to identify and pack their own gear. Add a bottle or can of sunscreen to each bag (you can make it match by using a strip of colorful tape to the container) and you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Hang bags on hooks in your laundry area and you can refill them with ease; you’ll be ready to head to the pool, lake or beach and know you have everything needed for each child.
6. Schedule Downtime
Pick a time each day for everyone to rest, relax and savor summer. Setting aside an hour for “feet off the floor” time allows each child (and you) to retreat to the bedroom, and read, relax or play. By turning off screens for a bit and mandating not a nap, but quiet time, you encourage kids to read, entertain themselves or even rest a bit. They may not get much of an opportunity to rest during the heavily scheduled school year; downtime ensures everyone stays cool, rested and in a good mood.
Summer only lasts a few short weeks, and by getting organized and prepared for the increased activity can help you stay calm and on top of things. You’ll love the longer days and great weather, and the ability to keep the kids busy and entertained all season long.