The temps are heating up, the kids are out of school (or almost), and everyone’s mind is on summertime fun and relaxation. But are you and yours ready to hit the ground running? If you’re going to make the most of your summer. getting a few key things done NOW will help you get there.
So if you haven’t taken care of these key planning items yet, now’s the time, busy Mama – before the summer slips away from you!
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1. Pin down that summer bucket list
With any luck, you’ve already been thinking about those things you really want to get out of this summer. Maybe it’s dining al fresco once a week, spending several afternoons at the park or neighborhood pool each week, or training with your kids for their first 5K or charity ride. Or catching a few games at the local ballpark, or an outdoor movie night. Or maybe it’s a week of camping in your favorite state park, or a night camping out on the front lawn (the latter is on my kids’ summer bucket list, for sure!).
Whatever it is, get those ideas down on paper. Maybe it’s just a list in your bullet journal. Or maybe it’s a poster that you hang on your kitchen wall, where everyone can see and add to it. The important thing is that you write them down; just doing so is a big step closer toward making your summer dreams a reality.
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2. Finalize those reservations
Being last-minute make work fine for some, but it’s never worked well for me as a parent. Serendipity is harder to pull off when you’ve got a family involved, whether it’s slots in the swim lessons you want, the camp week your kid’s set on, or those campsite reservations at the most popular state park in your area. Trust me: Many a last-minute 4th of July getaway has been thwarted by waiting til the last minute to reserve a spot.
(Not that we would know anything about this.)
So if you haven’t already pinned these things down, just do it already – or else someone else will claim the slots you want.
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3. Nail down those get-togethers
Likewise, we’ve goofed more than once on waiting too long to make plans with friends, whether it’s play dates for our kids or getting together with that family we wanted to have over to dinner. If your summer calendar already looks a lot like ours – this camp here, that getaway there – remember that other people’s calendars are probably also filling up fast.
So if you want to be sure your child gets in a few play dates with their best friend from school, or you get to camp with your childhood bestie and her family, NOW is the time to line those things up.
4. Pencil in all the things
The start of summer is also a good time to make sure you’ve got all those low-key summer activities on your radar screen (and your calendar), so you don’t forget about them. Maybe it’s the two concerts in your local summer concert series that you don’t want to miss. Or the two weeks of summer library at your kids’ school that you’ll actually be in town for.
Trust me, if you don’t note them in your calendar NOW, they’ll come and go before you realized you missed them.
5. Make a list of your summer projects
I always try to get little projects knocked off around the house in the summertime. So at the start of each summer, I make a list of all those things I want to accomplish, while the kids are home and we’re on summertime routines.
My list usually has several small home improvements on it, and maybe one or two larger ones, like a landscaping project outside or finally getting that Garage Door Repair taken care of. Once I can see them all on paper, I can start locating local pros to handle the bigger jobs, decide which are our top priorities as far as urgency and budget go, and make a plan to knock off the smaller ones that we can do ourselves.
6. Stock up on sunblock, bug protection, and summer sizes
If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve got a fresh supply of sunblock on hand. Also be make sure your kids have swimsuits (and ideally, also long-sleeve SPF rash guards) that actually fit their current sizes.
You should also prepare now to protect your kids from both mosquito bites and tick-borne illnesses over the summer. A few years ago, I actually read the research on the best ways to protect your kids from mosquitoes AND ticks, and wrote about it here. The short version: unless you’re OK with spraying DEET all over them and their clothing, the only truly effective means of long-term protection against both mosquitoes and ticks is permethrin-treated clothing.
As a result, I spent part of Memorial Day weekend retreating my kids’ clothing with permethrin. Which is actually easier to DIY than you might think; read this post for the ultimate DIY permethrin guide, and you’ll see how easy-peasy it is.
7. Kick off the summer with an “LFT” Weekend
My dear friend Raiah introduced me to the concept of a “Let’s Finish This” weekend. Setting aside a “Let’s Finish This” (LFT) weekend or day is perfect for knocking off those little projects that have been dragging you down forever.
Whether it’s tightening that loose screw on the bathroom door knob, cleaning out the kids’ backpacks and homework desks after the school year, or catching up the bill-filing for next year’s tax time, an LFT weekend is a great way to start your summer off with a clean slate.
8. Finish your summertime yard prep
If you haven’t already done these things, NOW is the time to
- get out the lawn mower and make sure it’s ready to go, or line up your summer mowing service;
- plant your vegetable garden and/or summer annuals;
- lay down that mulch in your flower beds;
- get out the lawn/deck furniture from storage;
- power-wash your home as needed;
- hang the hammock;
- get out the kiddos’ wading pool if you have one, or open the grownup-sized pool.
The sooner you wrap these up, the sooner you can enjoy them!
9. Stock up on snacks
Between road trips, day trips, and other summer excursions, you’ll want to have plenty of kid-friendly snacks on hand. I usually prefer buying in bulk over getting individually-wrapped portions, because doing so minimizes packaging waste. The exception, though, is when we travel. It’s hard to beat the convenience of pre-portioned goodies that are ready to “grab and go,” or tuck into a backpack.
So as I look ahead to our summer road trips, I make sure to stock up on those snacks and other summertime staples, especially when I see special offers and coupons. This makes it easy to grab’n’go as we’re heading out the door, or packing for a longer road trip.
10. Plan those surprise summer fun ideas
It’s also a good idea to have a few summer surprises up your sleeve. Depending on your schedule, you could even set aside one day a week as “Funday.” Or if the weather is unpredictable in your area, you could also save these surprises for those rainy summer days that you know are coming.
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These summer surprises don’t have to be expensive; in fact, they don’t have to cost anything. They might be a couple of new bottles of bubble liquid, or a new package of sidewalk chalk. Or something like a movie marathon or new coloring/activity book for a rainy day. Or a special outing, like visiting a different park than usual. Or even bringing a picnic to the park or pool. Or maybe a special craft activity together.
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Whatever it is, get whatever supplies you need now, at the start of summer. That way, you’ll be ready to go when the time comes. This will up the odds that your summertime fun surprises actually happen, because you won’t be scrambling at the last minute.
What did I miss? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!
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