It's a fact of life for most busy families these days. When school ends and the "lazy?" days of summer begin, parents have more scheduling and juggling to do with the kids at home all day. We make summer child care arrangements for our school age children. Vacation plans are made. Transportation must be arranged for camp, lessons, and ball games.
Try this strategy for scheduling your summer now. It will reduce your stress, teach your child organizational skills, and help your family look forward to a great summer.
The first step is to gather information . . .
Gather brochures and information on community and childcare resources in your town, ballgame schedules, children's summer class schedules, vacation books and brochures, anything that will give you the ideas and information you need to plan your summer schedule.
The first planning meeting should be between you and your spouse only . . .
Each of you should bring your personal calendars and use an initial planning calendar to sketch out your ideas. Mark off already scheduled vacation times and other firm plans that you have made.
What activities do you agree on for your child? Consider your budget, your child's interests, your work schedule, and your assessment of each individual child's needs. Keep it flexible to give your child some choices. Let her pick one of several enrichment classes at a local university or museum. Consider both active and quiet activities - swimming and art lessons, or baseball and computer classes. Does your child need extra help or enrichment in any of his school subjects? Perhaps you could buy an educational software program or hire a tutor to come in and help him through the summer. University classes and summer school are also options for extra summer learning.
What family activities would you like to plan? Have you wanted to plan a hiking trip or a museum visit but never seem to get around to it? Put it on the planning calendar now and you'll be much more likely to do it this year!
Next, meet with the entire family . . .
Bring your Summer Family Calendar plus individual calendars for each family member. You and your spouse have agreed on what activities are mandatory and what choices you will give your child. Start with the firm plans, including the child care arrangements. Most school-age children are not too thrilled with going to a day care center. But, if they must go, try to emphasize the field trips and other appealing summer activities offered by the center. It really helps if you can find out where their friends are going and make the same arrangements! Let them fill in special day care events on their individual calendars. Perhaps you can schedule special days each week that Mom will pick them up early or Dad will come and take them out to lunch. Again, put these on the calendar to give them special days to look forward to. Fill in any other already scheduled activities on the family and individual calendars - baseball games, family vacation, etc.
Now, bring out your brochures and begin to plan some fun. Let everyone look through the materials and brainstorm some activities that you and your children will enjoy. Find a balance of individual and family interests and plan accordingly. When you all agree on an idea, put it on the calendar. Now, you have a great summer planned. Enjoy!
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