Let’s face it, summer is great for family time but not so great for mom’s productivity. If you want to maximize these last few weeks of school to get organized and empty your to-do list, here are ten things to get done before the littles descend and chaos ensues.
Organize your summer calendar
You’ve probably got vacations and camps plugged in but what about doctor and dentist appointments? Date nights and girls’ nights? Now is a good time to take a broad view of your schedule and pencil everything in. If your kids are due for a checkup or a cleaning, book it now before the days start getting away from you. May we also suggest a scheduling a mid-summer mani-pedi?
Purge winter clothes and accessories
If you have a pile of items you know won’t fit next spring / summer, organize them for donation or hand-me-down. Store hats, mitts and boots away for fall in clear garbage bags or containers. Send winter coats for dry-cleaning so they’re ready to go next season. And be sure to check the school lost and found for missing items!
Create a summer chore chart
No school means more time to help around the house! If your kids aren’t used to doing chores start small with one or two jobs per week and make the tasks age-appropriate. Kids as young as three can learn to do things like pull the covers over their beds (we’ll teach them about hospital corners when they get older), stuff clothes in the washing machine, and pick things up off the floor. Remember, chores aren’t punishment, they’re part of contributing to a happy, healthy family and the sooner you start setting that expectation, the better.
Collect the contact information of your kids’ friends’ parents for summer play dates
If you’re used to seeing the mom of your little one’s bestie at drop off or pick up, make sure you have her contact info so you can connect over the summer. Your child’s teacher might even help you organize a class contact sheet.
Have a pre-report card chat with the teacher
Don’t wait for the piece of paper to come home, especially if you or your child have concerns. Schedule a quick catch up to gather recommendations for summer learning and activities, and to get an understanding of next year’s curriculum. A quick Google search or a visit to your local bookstore can help you find easy and fun summer learning ideas and workbooks. In most schools, tentative class placements for next year have been completed well before June, but it’s still a good idea to share any concerns or desires with your school administrator now instead of waiting until September.
Have your kids fill out a questionnaire
Years from now this will be a great way to remember who they were, what they liked and what mattered to them. Set aside time for kids to complete them then file them away for mortal embarrassment at the wedding. Some of our favourite, easy printables can be found here on Pinterest.
Have everyone contribute to a list of “my favourite summer foods.”
This way you can create easy, go-to menu options for days when you’d rather be swinging in the hammock than planning a meal. And when everyone groans “burgers on the barbeque again, mom?” Summer can also be a good time to get into the habit of weekly meal planning, if you’re not doing that already. Start with these great family cookbooks: The Busy Mom’s Cookbook, How to Feed a Family, Sheet Pan Suppers and New Favourites for New Cooks.
Sign up for fall programs or put registration dates in your calendar
Don’t let the chaos of kids underfoot cause you to miss getting them signed up for fall extra-curriculars. Make a plan for activities (gymnastics or dance? Hockey or basketball? Babysitting courses or cooking classes?) and note the registration date(s). Put reminders in your phone so you don’t miss out. Trust us, a little homework and planning now is worth it!
Research some of the fun & free activities in your area
Zoos, aquariums, water parks and big amusement parks are a great treat, but they usually require a full day’s investment of time and a considerable spend. Make a list of parks, walking trails, splash pads, libraries and the like in your area so you can plan an outing in a snap without having to think too much or take out a bank loan. Many of these places will have special summer programming so be sure to check the website and make note of anything you want to attend.
Take advantage of seasonal deals
In June, prices tend to go down on things like tools (in anticipation of Father’s Day) and refrigerators and appliances (in anticipation of new models coming out). Have your eye on a new car? If the new model comes out in fall, you might see price breaks on older models as early as late spring. June is usually a good time to score a good deal on a gym membership too, as clubs try to lure you inside to work out. Now is also the time to start keeping an eye out for sales on everything from clothes to seasonal home goods and outdoor furniture as – believe it or not – retailers start making room for fall stock. Many will have Canada Day / Fourth of July sales offering deep, 24-72 hour discounts. Bottom line? If you need time to research a purchase, do it now!