Summer Survival Planning… In One Day!
We have 5 kids with us full time, plus an extra couple on weekends. They range in age from 4 – 14, and when they are all at home together it is a little, um, chaotic. This is where the Summer Survival Planning is critical!
With summer vacation just a month away, I’m starting to get anxiety just thinking about them being home All. The. Time! I need to make a plan. A good one!
Parental organization is not one of my strong areas, and because of my anxiety issues, I become overwhelmed very quickly. Another factor is that neither I nor my husband are working now due to these health issues, so money is dreadfully short.
It’s time to get serious about a plan for summer. I need to keep us on a zero budget, keep kids entertained – inside and outside of the house, and make sure that their brains don’t turn to mush over the next 3 months.
The Big Idea
While I don’t want to plan every second of every day of summer, I do need to have a general idea of what is planned over the whole 3 months, and a specific plan of action for the first 2 weeks. During that 2-week period I can work out more details as they come, but at least I’ll have something in place for day 1.
Before You Start
Before you can have a day devoted to summer survival planning, you need to decide what your ideal summer looks like. Think about your priorities, goals, and limits. Do you keep your house cleaning chores the same, or relax your standards? Do you want them to learn more or play more? Stay home or take trips? Hopefully there is some sort of compromise between advancing 9 reading levels and sleeping until 1pm every day.
Gather ideas of all the awesome and amazing things you and the kids would like to do during this free time. Pinterest is a great resource for summer bucket lists – such creativity out there! Grow a garden, paint a birdhouse, build a model!
You may want to check with parents of your kids friends to see if they would like to do any summer co-op days or events. Planning a field day or back yard camping “trip” with your kids and their friends can be a blast!
- Print off a 3-month calendar, Summer Bucket List (Laura over at iheartplanners.com has an UhMazing one… Summer reading list, too!), and any other lists you want to work on.
- Make a list of your priorities – what you need to do down to what you’d like to do. Include any expectations you have – daily/weekly chores to number of books read from the reading list.
- Once the bucket list is done, notate specific ones that are priority… but don’t go overboard! One priority per week is reasonable, and if you can comfortably add in more, great. But don’t make every single thing a priority… that’s not how priorities work!
Check for Resources
This is a biggie on Summer Survival Planning Day. Look around your area for events that are free or cheap. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Churches for VBS (co-op… different churches do different VBS themes, maybe yours can go with their friends if their friends go with them.)
- Library for story time, craft projects, classes, or special guests.
- Reading camp for kids that need extra help.
- Local movie theaters for kids days – ours has $1 kid movies every Tuesday.
- Recreation center for sports programs or classes.
- Hardware and craft store for free project days.
- Cheap/free kids days for sports team practices.
Make Your Calendar
- Lay out the calendar pages and mark school stop and start dates, as well as any holidays, events, or vacation plans. If any days are already accounted for, make sure they are on there.
- Do you want to stick with a weekly cleaning day or learning day? Mark it down.
- Note the possible options each day.
- Find 8 things that sound cool at the library? Jot them down… in pencil!
- Mark cool movies at the movie theater.
- Fill in VBS, sports classes, baseball practices you can watch, and puppet shows.
Once the days are filled out, see what over-laps, and make a decision… or save the decision for that day!
Don’t Forget to Feed Them!
7 people eat a lot. I mean A LOT! Because of our budgetary limitations, I have to be very intentional about our menus. I want to make sure that our first 2 weeks of summer are planned, food too, so that we keep on track and don’t blow the food budget by day 3!
Here’s the plan …
- Do a kitchen inventory – meats, pantry, fridge, freezer.
- Make a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu for 2 weeks, using as much as you have on hand as possible.
- By making a dinner menu, you can see where you will have leftovers available for lunches.
- Make your life easier by intentionally making extra portions of dinner to use for lunches.
- Make a shopping list to fill in what you need for those 2 weeks. This would be a great time to do some freezer meals for the crock pot!! Be sure to check the sale ads to get the biggest bang for your buck!
- Invest in some baggies at the Dollar Tree and portion out fresh fruit, veggies, chips, cereal, and snacks from larger packages. This saves money, time, and messes by not buying individual packages or letting the kids get their own food.
- I stock up on paper plates and cups. Personally, I don’t have a dishwasher, and I don’t have enough dishes for all of us to eat more than 1 meal. Since I plan to enjoy my summer by NOT doing dishes 3 times a day… paper it is. Sorry, environment, I’ll get back to you when school starts.
- I try to lean towards finger foods, anyway.
- Save extra jugs for drinks. My kids WANT juice boxes or sodas 9 times a day. My kids GET 1 gallon of water and 1 gallon of Crystal Light a day. I wash and remake the jugs every night so they are ready for the morning.
I hope that by spending a day to plan ahead I can get a good grasp of what is going on this summer. As each day comes, if we want to chill at home and watch a day’s worth of Jessie… great. If not… we check the calendar for other options.
I want the kids to be kids, and I want my sanity to stay with me. I am intentionally making my plans before they get out of school so I’m not in summer survival planning mode. I am praying that this whole calendar thing will benefit all of us!