10 Tips to Tackle the Summer Transition with Kids! Say what? Can you believe it? Summer begins for our family today…it’s the last day of school for my kids. I have all of the emotions….excitement, anxiety, relief, sadness….anyone else feeling all the feels?
Are you ready for the changes that summer brings? Longer days, more laundry (all those extra pool towels and swimsuits!) and ravenous children?
Looking for ways to make the summer months a little easier? Here are my top 10 Tips to Tackle the Summer Transition with Kids.
I find that I center myself best in moments of transition when I come up with clear, actionable steps . Seasonal transitions are high on my radar for creating an actionable transition plan.
Kids’ schedules go from a daily structured school schedule to weeks that can vary widely depending on camps and different commitments. Of course, parents’ schedules often vary widely during the summer as well.
Whether you work in or outside of the home, adjustments have to be made for different dropoff/pickup times, snacks and lunches, and the inevitable vacation or “staycation” planning to cover caring for children.
10 Tips to Tackle the Summer Transition with Kids
Here are 10 Tips to Tackle the Summer Transition with Kids that I have learned over the last several years as you adjust to a “new normal” for the summer.
1) Stick to a Schedule
It is critical to have a loose “template” for each day to maintain a semblance of normalcy during the summer. Whether your kids are home all day with you or off at camps, a schedule is key for everyone involved.
- Keep to a general wake and bedtime.
- Schedule meals at roughly the same time each day.
- A visual schedule is often helpful for children to know what is expected of them each day. Here is a glimpse of our summer schedule.
2) Be Flexible
Wait? Didn’t I just say stick to a schedule? Well, yes, but it is still summer!
While scheduling is critical for consistency, it is also important to allow for small changes. Maybe someone calls at the last minute for an outing that your child would really enjoy? Try to make it happen!
What if you have paid for a camp and someone invites your child for a play date? I get it…..those camps are expensive. Take a look at the calendar and plan an alternate day when everyone is available.
3) Create Organized Systems
We have a few specific summer systems that work well in our house. Have you tried snack bins? My kids love the idea of their own special snack bin.
We only use these during the summer when they are home during the daytime, but you could totally adopt this system year-round.
Each child has their own labeled bin in the fridge and on the counter. I fill these at the beginning of the week with healthy options so I am not bothered with the constant echo, “What can I have to eat?”. Choose the size that works best for you based on counter and fridge space.
Also, an over-the-door shoe organizer hangs on the back of our laundry/mudroom door for summer essentials. These include sunscreen, bug spray, swimming goggles, hats/caps, bubbles/fun outdoor toys and the year-round essentials for dog walking. I highly recommend a canvas shoe organizer for durability!
4) Provide a Chore List
All kids need responsibilities and all parents need help around the house. Even the smallest children can help wipe down a table and it gives them a sense of contribution to the family.
I don’t know about you, but my house seems a lot more cluttered during the summer. Give the kids a chore list and create a daily time to tackle these tasks.
I created a special summer chore chart for our family below using a Canva template. I plan to laminate it and attach a dry erase marker, so we can rotate chores and no one gets burned out on specific chores.
5) Create Efficient Meals
When I worked full-time outside of the home with children, I made the most of easy dinnertime ideas and extended daylight hours. We chose many nights to have a simple salad, cut fruit and grill out while hanging out on the deck.
I still continue to focus on efficient summer meals in order to save household energy. Who wants to further heat the house on a 90 degree day with elaborate meals using multiple appliances? The grill and Instant Pot are your friends this summer! Plan to see a lot of these recipes from me soon.
6) Cultivate Excitement
Plan a few special activities for the children to look forward to during the season. We create a Summer Bucket List each year and I list each family member’s ideas in a color assigned to them, so we know whose idea is whose when perusing the list. It is also helpful for equity as we look back to make sure we have completed an equitable number of each family member’s ideas!
7) Explore New Extracurriculars
Summer is a great time for children to try a new sport or hobby. There are many special classes and camps run during the summer that offer children exposure to a new activity for a finite period of time. Perhaps your child is interested in playing lacrosse, but you are unsure if they will like it? Sign up for a one-week camp to give it a try! We plan to begin musical instrument lessons for both of our children this summer.
8) Schedule Theme Days or Nights
Whether your kids are home with you all day or off at camp, I find that everyone gets excited when a special theme day or evening is on the calendar. What are some fun activities that you have more time for during the summer months? Here are a few of our family’s favorites:
- Library Day : We visit the library weekly (or more) during the summer. The public library is a great place for young children and usually hosts a variety of child-friendly activities throughout the day. We try to coordinate our visits to check out books with a favorite age-appropriate event. Local friends: ComicFest is coming up soon at one of our branches and we will definitely be there!
- Cooking Day: I will often ask my kids to peruse cookbooks and choose a favorite recipe to make that week. We then add the recipe prep to our weekly calendar and they are super involved in the recipe preparation process. They gather (or plan to shop) for any necessary ingredients ahead of time and then we discuss the planning process for cooking. Recipe prep, cooking and serving ensue dependent on our schedule!
- New Physical Activity: I will often allow my kids to choose a favorite new physical activity or sport for us to try at home. Maybe your kids are motivated by videos? The simple choice of a new exercise video that you can do together is a great option that will burn 30 minutes. Perhaps they want to explore a new trail in the community? There are so many options with this idea!
- Book Club: Choose a new book or book series to read together. This activity can be altered by age and individual preference, but setting a limit on how many chapters you read, then discussing as a group is a wonderful bonding activity. Not to mention, you are all reading!
- Game Night: Let each child choose a favorite board or card game to play after dinner (except Monopoly; we would be up all night!). We like to do game nights on weekends during the school year as well.
9) Give Grace
Know that the house won’t be perfect, the dinners may not be lavish and there will likely be a spat or two at some point in the day. Life with kids is a bit of a rollercoaster and summer is no exception.
While you may envision peaceful days lying by the pool reading a book, those will likely be few and far between. More than likely, you will step on more than a few Legoes each day, swat a dozen houseflies from someone leaving the door open (again!), and throw your hands up in the air as you stare into the refrigerator wondering where all of the food has gone.
Give them and yourself grace. And order a pizza.
10) Hire a Babysitter
Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your relationships. As parents we put a lot on the back burner in the interest of raising kids, but I know I need to remember to also take care of me.
So, hire a babysitter (or trade sitting with a fellow parent), so you can enjoy a little downtime. Nurture your relationship with your partner and/or your friends. You will be much more present for your kids if you can take some time for yourself.
Takeaway for Summertime with Kids
Most of all, remember, the days are long, but the years are short. Enjoy this time with your little and big kids! They will be out of our “nests” before we know it.
I would love to hear from all of you parents on what works best for your family’s schedule! Please share here in the comments and pin this article if there are ideas that appeal to you for later!