INSIDE: Want to make the most of summer this year but don’t know how? I’ve got you covered! In this post, I’m sharing the exact strategy I use each year to plan our summer break and make summer fun. Follow these five simple steps and experience your BEST summer yet!
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How to make the most of summer…
If you find the thought of your kids being off for the entire summer a little daunting, I know exactly how you feel. I’m right there with you! We want to have fun and spend quality time with them, that goes without saying. But coming up with ideas of things to do and places to go? That can be tough! How do we keep them entertained and out of mischief for such a long period of time? And what if we have to work while they’re off?
Carving out quality time and not letting the days slip you by can be tricky. But finding the balance between boredom and burnout is not as impossible as you might think. In this post, I’m sharing the five simple steps I take each year to ensure we have the best summer we possibly can. Want your summer to be enjoyable and memorable too? Just follow these steps!
Five steps to your BEST summer yet…
Step One: Establish how much time you have
Know how much time you have together and you’ll find it a lot easier to figure out what to do when. You can be more intentional about what you do too because you’ve given yourself time to think about it. Sit down with your calendar and fill in the days where you already have plans. Then, thinking about the rest of the break, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you going away? If so, when?
- Do you need to work? If so, which days?
- How will you manage childcare?
- Are your kids staying with grandparents or relatives? If so, when and how long for?
- Do you have children from a previous relationship? How will you be splitting the time?
Mark these days on your calendar and see what you have left. Of the days you have remaining, mark which would work best as days out and which days you want to spend at home. Remember that you don’t need to be out all day every day. That just leads to burnout and an empty wallet! So don’t be afraid to spend a few days at home. Try to keep a few days free too so that you can allow for the unexpected.
Step Two: Create a list of the things you want to do
Now you know when you’re free you can start thinking about what you’d like to do together. Create a bucket list of all the places you want to go and the things you want to do. They don’t have to be wild or fancy, nor do they have to be miles away and cost the earth. A simple wish list is enough. Activities like swimming, going for a picnic, hiring bikes for the day or taking a trip to the beach are a great place to start. Try to include:
- All the things you enjoy doing as a family.
- All the things you keep talking about but haven’t yet done.
- Things your kids would like to do – ask them!
- Things happening in your local area you like the look of.
Don’t forget to include indoor and outdoor activities and activities for both sunny and rainy days. That way you’ll always have something to do regardless of the weather. Now you have your list, keep it safe. Add to it anytime you think of something else you want to do. Use it whenever you have time together but find yourselves stuck for inspiration.
Step Three: Establish some kind of routine
The summer holidays mean the normal nursery/school routine goes on hold for a few weeks. And this can throw everything off kilter making it hard to get all the usual chores done. Having a summer routine can help keep things as structured as possible. Figure out when you usually do your normal tasks and try to mix them up with your days out.
If you normally go food shopping on a Monday, still go but have the kids help you. Make it fun, have them find the items you need and help you unpack everything when you get home. If Wednesdays are laundry day, let them help you then too. My youngest, Harrison, loves sorting clothes when they come out of the drier!
Give each day a theme…
Giving each day a theme makes it so much easier to plan out the week. It helps you spread the days out over the summer and gives you time at home too. Your kids will love it because they have a routine and they’ll know what to look forward to each day. And if they know they go out on a particular day, they won’t be hounding you to do something special for the rest of the week! Our weeks usually pan out something like this:
- Mondays – Food shopping, chores and library day.
- Tuesdays – Going out day.
- Wednesdays – Activities at home (drawing, crafts, lego, baking etc).
- Thursdays – Going out day.
- Fridays – Soft play and/or movie time at home.
Think about what you like to do together and what you need to get done each day. Pick a theme that fits and use your summer bucket list to help you come up with ideas of what to do for each day.
Step Four: Choose quality over quantity
Planning your summer break allows you to make the most of the time you have together. But that doesn’t mean you have to cram your days, rushing from place to place so that come bedtime, you’re exhausted. The idea is to spend real, proper quality time together. Time you don’t normally get. It’s about making the most of the opportunity you have and investing time in the things that really matter.
For us, bedtime is normally a rushed affair, so in the holidays we take our time, spending longer on the stories and snuggles. We also make Friday nights movie night and allow Harrison to stay up much later because there’s no school. What do you wish you had more time to do? Use the time you have over the summer break to do it!
All our kids want to do is spend time with us. They want our attention and they want us to be present. We don’t have to be out all day every day to achieve this. It’s perfectly okay to spend time at home. Zoos and theme parks are fun, but our kids are just as happy at home drawing or playing Lego – as long as they have our attention. So aim for quality over quantity.
Step Five: Keep things flexible
In step one I talked about keeping a few days free to allow for the unexpected. Why? Because sometimes things don’t quite go as planned. It might rain when it was supposed to be sunny. Activities might get cancelled at the last minute. And sometimes we have to work when we thought we had the day off. But if we’ve kept things flexible we can switch things around without too much stress or fuss. Having a few days free allows for a spot of spontaneity too!
Opt for activities that can easily be swapped around so that it doesn’t matter if your plans change. And if they do change and you find yourself stumped for ideas, remember you have your bucket list of ideas to fall back on. Having that list of ways to entertain and occupy your kids at the last minute is a real life-saver!
What if you have to work?
You may be reading this thinking that’s all very well but I have to work the entire summer! Carving out quality time when you have to work isn’t easy. Not being at home with your kids while they’re off can be tough and it’s easy to feel guilty that you’re not with them. But don’t be too hard on yourself. Try not to beat yourself up over something you know you have to do.
Remember it’s more about quality than quantity. Kids are far more resilient than you might think, so just make the most of the time you do have together. Be intentional about how you spend that time and seize every opportunity you can to spend time together.
Making the most of summer…
With a little bit of planning and forethought, a summer holiday that is both memorable and enjoyable is possible. Just follow these five simple steps and you’ll find it easy to make the most of your summer break. Here they are again:
- Step one: Establish how much time you have.
- Step two: Create a list of the things you want to do together.
- Step three: Establish a routine – give each day a theme.
- Step four: Choose quality over quantity.
- Step five: Keep things flexible.
That’s it for this post! What do you do to make the most of summer? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
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