It is mid May and summer break is rapidly approaching us. To me this means longer days, BBQ’s, vacation if you are lucky enough, and fun for all. Well, not really. It also means an influx of kids in and out of the house. It means that many more scheduled play dates to be arranged with the parents. That many more pick ups, and drop offs, hellos and goodbyes. That many more snack times, lunch times, and time outs. We all see those summer time lemonade and iced tea commercials of kids playing with their dog, on the lake with a rope swing. Smiling and happy faces, as summer should be. But what we don’t see is the behind the scenes of this picture perfect commercial for summer time. We don’t see the painstaking packing of the SUV, the long car ride to the lake with kids in tow, the unpacking of the groceries. Reality is, as amazing and relaxing summer is, there is an equivalent of “sucky” things that make the summer experience what it is.
What I have done is made a list of a few tips that I have learned as a “Manny” to help save time, money, energy, and most of all your sanity while at the house this summer. These are just a few tricks I have used in the past to make the summers a more enjoyable time for everyone.
Instead of going out to the movies paying $10.50 a pop per person have movie night in at your house. Rent a classic movie the kids may or may have not seen before. My personal favorite is the “Goonies”, or Disney’s “The Kid”. The trick here is to make it seem extra special. Arrange the furniture to resemble stadium seating. Make popcorn at home and put it in brown paper bags, exactly how movie popcorn is served. The movie and popcorn can be had for under $10.00. Cheap. Fun. Easy.
Make sure to utilize community event resources. One of the best things I was able to experience as a kid was the local swim team at the neighborhood park. Generally admission to the pool is around $2 or $3, but the best part is the kids will be learn how to be strong swimmers and learn what healthy competition is like, while being part of a swim team. Not only are local swim teams great for the kids, it gives the parents a moment to breath without the kids hanging off your arms. The price for this baby sitting a couple hours is only the admission of $2- $3. Remember swim teams aren’t the only sports activities going on during the summer (Soccer, Baseball, Volleyball).
Organization is key! At one point I was working as a professional organizer. What I would do is come into a home, playroom, garage, whatever needed organizing and work my wonders. I started by pulling everything out of the space and decided what need to go in the trash, stay in the room, and what needed to be donated. 3 easy piles is all you have to make. Once you donate and trash everything all you need to do is put everything back in a logical order that works best for you. First stop at the local Target and pick up different sized containers, most can be bought for $10-$15. Once the kids play room is sorted by art supplies, school work, toys, etc. you can LABEL each basket. This helps the kids learn responsibility by putting their possessions back in proper place, and most importantly you by having a clutter free, organized space. You will feel much better once you let the old clutter go.
Lastly, roll with the punches this summer. Schedules work during the school year and can work during the summer too. But, if things don’t go according to your activity plan thats ok too. Kids grow so dang fast and you will look back one day and wish you had more time with the little rug rats.
I hope these suggestions help every parent out there, I know they came in handy for me before. That being said, HAPPY SUMMER!!!