Surviving Summer Schedules
Summer is a time for relaxing, playing in the sun, and enjoying a much-needed break. But, it can also be about work, school, and getting things done. I’m using the summer to work on my blog and teach more dance classes, while my boys are all going to summer school and participating in activities like swim lessons and baseball. Of course we have to throw plenty of fun in there, but it also feels good to get some things accomplished. Surviving summer schedules can be a challenge, but it can also be rewarding. I’ve got tips to make it easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
I actually prefer having schedules and structure. While some people look forward to throwing out their schedule for the summer, I just look forward to our new schedule and figuring out new ways to make things work.
Our Main Schedule
The big thing on our calendar this summer is summer school. Last year, only Mr. B went to summer school, and he loved it. He took a science class, a space camp class, and a sports class. It’s a district-wide program, so there are tons of kids from each different school. It’s a chance to make new friends, and learn new things while having fun.
Mr. B is taking a reading workshop, a writing workshop, and an art class this summer. His teacher suggested the first two, and we let him pick the third class. Reading is a challenge for him, but he loves to write, and really loves art.
This year, the twins are joining Mr. B at Summer School. (Cue the happy dance for Mom!) They are taking Kindergarten Momentum, which is a Kindergarten prep class. We’re on day 4, and it’s been going pretty great. They don’t cry when I leave them, they give their teacher quite a few hugs when I arrive to pick them up, and they bring home tons of worksheets.
Each twin has admitted to crying a little at some point during the day, but it hasn’t been a big deal. Big C cried when someone took his red marker, and Little P cried out of frustration not being able to cut something.
Speaking of cutting, they are working on cutting skills, coloring, and writing. They work on a new letter each day, and so far have done F, E, and D.
I thought the biggest challenge would be getting three boys up, dressed, out of the house, and to school by 8 am, but I was wrong. Our biggest challenge was the parking lot. But, I’ll get to that in a second.
First, let me give you a few tips. Whether it be summer school, summer camp, or some kind of lessons, I’m going to tell you the things that worked for me getting my minions out the door on time and in a good mood.
Early is key
Early to bed, early to wake up, early to leave for your destination. If you’ve got extra time built-in, there is automatically less stress.
This goes for you too, parents! I’ve been in bed earlier and up earlier than I have in months. It’s actually been a pretty nice change.
Prep, prep, prep
Backpacks packed the night before, along with outfits lined up.
The boys don’t need lunch, but snacks and water bottles were, so those were filled, refrigerated, and labeled.
After mostly dressing the twins alike, I decided to go different for the sake of them being in the same class. More work for mom, but less mix-ups for the teacher and their classmates. I also pick out my own outfit the night before. Mostly workout clothes, but it still counts!
Make it Fun!
School during summer might not be every kids idea of a fun time, but you can make them think it is. Emphasize all the fun they will have, all the new friends they will make, and all the new activities they will do.
Be excited for them and with them. Ask questions about their day, and really listen to their answers. Praise all their hard work, and even reward them.
We’re planning a celebratory lunch at Chick-Fil-A, along with plenty of play time, one afternoon when they get done with school. I also let the boys relax when they get home, and try not to schedule anything else until they’ve had a chance to eat and have some down time.
It’s been a big change for the twins, so they need some time after school to decompress.
What’s a Parent to Do…
With all that FREE TIME!!!
I currently have two weeks off from my dance studio, so the my blog is my only work at the time. I have to say I was pretty excited to have all three boys gone. For 4 whole hours. 5 days a week!!!!
Somebody pinch me…and pass the wine. (Kidding!)
Let me just say, though, those 4 hours fly by. I have so much I want to do, and I also want to do nothing at all. So, what to do?
I made myself a list, so I could see what I was working with. I divided it into things I have to get done and things I want to get done. Then, since I can’t get everything done in 4 hours, I decided to make it a weekly plan. Summer school is about 5 weeks (minus 3 days for the 4th of July holiday) so if I can make a good dent, I will be happy. Here’s a sample of my list for this week:
- One load of laundry each day
- Work on the blog for a half hour each day
- Go to the gym Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (Friday is a possibility)
- Grocery shopping on Wednesday
- Clean out my closet on Friday
I also would like to get in a haircut, maybe doing a little shopping, read a few books, and (who am I kidding?) take a nap or too. Mommy needs a little down time too!
The Last Challenge
Remember how I mentioned the parking lot? Well, the first day, it was a nightmare.
Dropping off and picking up little ones from activities can be more stressful than the actual activities! Where do you go in? Where do my kids go? Will they be safe all day? Where do I pick them up?
Last week, we did a dry run of summer school. We parked, walked in, and found everyone’s classrooms…exactly how we would do it for real. I highly recommend this, if your school/camp/activity center allows it. Ours had a specific day and time planned for it.
So, the day of school, I had a plan. I would park in the front and walk the kids in. This would be the same every day, and the same way I would pick them up. We would get there 15 minutes early, to make sure we could find a parking spot, take some pics, and say our goodbyes.
Well, the parking lot had other ideas. Even though we were there 15 minutes early, it was a zoo. Lines backed up all the way onto the major streets, and no parking spaces to be found. I had to wait in line for about 10 minutes to get in, circle the lot until someone left, and finally parked. Needless to say, we were all a little stressed. For pick-up, I parked in a store parking lot across the street to assure I wouldn’t be late (and to avoid the 20 minutes getting out of the lot that I experience that morning!)
However, it is a learning situation for everyone. The teachers expected everyone to be late the first day while they worked out the kinks, and the parking lot attendants had to get used to directing such a massive amount of parents at one time.
We’ve learned to leave even early, and with each day, it’s gotten better. So, if your parking/drop-off/pick-up situation isn’t working the first day, give it time to all settle in.
How are you Surviving Summer Scheduling?
Are your little ones going to summer school? Camp? Some other activity? Tell me all about your experiences, both wins and challenges, below.