Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

June 27, 2010

Six Tips for a Calmer, Happier Summer for Your Family

Filed under: Family Activities — Tags: , , , — Erin @ 2:00 pm

Guest blog by Renee Brown, owner of Restoration Organizationfamily image

There’s so much to love about summertime, but with all of that comes a new dizzy level of crazed activity for families of young kids. Day camps, swimming lessons and lack of school year structure can throw the best of us into a tailspin. Is there hope? Absolutely! With a bit of attention to creating new organized processes and systems, you can turn this summer into your best one yet.

  1. Write it Down: First and foremost, you must have one and only one calendar for everything. Think about what makes the most sense for you and your family. A huge monthly one posted in the kitchen? An electronic version on the computer? Perhaps the calendar on your phone? Whatever you pick, make it the one place you visit at least a couple times a day to enter new information and events, update details and of course, to see what’s on deck for the day. What will make this the most successful is if you train yourself to input everything: soccer, games, camps, weddings and family get-togethers. Train your family to check the calendar frequently to keep track of their own events.
  2. Mom’s Taxi: Since summer generally means an abundance of driving to and fro, think of your vehicle as a second home. What would be helpful and useful? Mandatory items include a hanging garbage bag (mine hangs behind the front passenger seat and gets emptied each time I gas up, so there’s never an overflow issue), a container of wipes (lifesavers!), a first aid kit, blankets for an impromptu picnic or for rain-drenched bleachers, box of tissues (summer allergies, anyone?), a small notepad and a few pens, activity items for younger kids, hand lotion, lip balm, bug spray and sunscreen. Look around your home for small boxes or containers (how about those gift-with-purchases bags that seem to multiply?) to corral the items in your car.
  3. House Rules: These will vary according to your children’s ages and stages, but ideas include no wet swimsuits on the floor, no running in the house, no TV or Zoodles until after breakfast, beds made immediately, etc. Summer is also a great time to teach kids new skills, such as how to do laundry and clean a bathroom. Remember, even though you know you can do these jobs faster and more efficiently yourself, your kids need to learn these all-important life skills and the sooner, the better. I taught my sons to do their laundry when they were in 4th grade and after a short learning curve, they never looked back! Now as teens they have learned to think ahead and wash their baseball uniform before the game. Success!
  4. Taking time to just enjoy: We all love to savor these three sunny months each year, so please don’t over schedule, jam-packing each day so everyone gets exhausted and crabby. Build in some fun, simple activities, such as lying on blankets in the backyard at night to view the stars, catching lightning bugs, or getting up early and watching the sunrise with a picnic breakfast. Remember, sometimes the most valuable moments are the simplest!
  5. De-Clutter: Summer is also a terrific time to go through kids’ clothes, books and toys. Set a goal and create a plan so that you have done this for all of your kids before school starts up, otherwise there will be no room for new fall clothes and the onslaught of new school papers and projects. Get your kids involved in this process and gently help them let go of things that are no longer relevant. To make it an even more valuable experience, bring the kids along when you donate the items to a shelter or non-profit. Make sure to go one step further and explain how their former belongings will be a blessing to someone else.
  6. Corral the Art: Another good summertime sorting-through project is going through your kids’ artwork. Make time to sift through a pile and let your child tell you about each one. Take pictures of them holding their favorites. Consider creating an art gallery of their best work. You can buy cheap frames at garage sales, and create a fancy show piece. Think about where the art could be displayed, perhaps the wall going downstairs? A big wall in the family room? Don’t forget about big wall spaces such as your garage. Another great way to use artwork is to gift it to family and friends or, use it as gift wrap or to make a card. Win-win for everyone!

So you see, with a little planning and a little project management, before you know it, things will feel a lot less crazed. After all, summer is meant to be savored not just survived. You never know when you are making a new memory!

Author Byline

Renee

Renee L Brown, Owner Restoration Organization

Renee Brown was born organized and after helping friends and family through the years, she finally began a freshly minted career as a professional organizer with her company Restoration Organization. Her specialties include whole-house de-cluttering, management and organization. She loves working with busy families and professionals, helping them create more space and peacefulness. A former editor for TV Guide Magazine, Renee has juggled many communications gigs through the years, all while single-handedly raising her two teenage boys. Her website is www.restorationorg.weebly.com and you can find her blog at http://mom-interrupted.blogspot.com

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