Summer is finally here and I’m so excited for a good, long break from alarm clocks, packing lunches, homework, school drop off and pickup. And I’m just excited to hang out with my kids! But I’ve learned through trial and error, that at least for us, even free time needs to have a little structure and predictability. I once heard to prepare so that the “future you will thank you.” I love that, so here are a few tricks that “future you” will thank you for this summer:
The Summer-Ready Car
The problem with trying to have your car prepared for summer is that basically anything you leave in your car will melt, so that eliminates snacks, drinks, sunscreen, and even baby wipes. But there are a few things you can keep in your car for summer.
- A change of clothes for everyone. I typically don’t keep four changes of clothes, but summer can be unpredictable. You never know when you’ll run across a splash pad or other water activity, so a change of clothes for everyone.
- To go along with the first one, keeping a few towels in the trunk of your car, which means you’ll be prepared whenever an unexpected trip to the splash pad, pool, or through a sprinkler happens.
- I know this sounds strange. But I have found that the one thing my children want when we hit up a splash pad are cups. They can be filled with water, dumped out, poured into different cups; for some reason, a few takeout cups go a long way at the splash pad.
And that’s about it for the car because: heat.
The Summer-Ready Bag
Do you ever buckle your kids in the car and then run back in the house and grab the five things you forgot…just me? Grab a bag and make it your “summer” bag. Here is where you keep all that stuff that would otherwise melt if left in the car during a Texas summer.
- Keeping this bag stocked with snacks always means not having to frantically grab things as you run out the door. If you use all the snacks one day, replenish them in your bag that same day so you’re prepared for the next adventure
- Another must in the middle of a Texas summer: always keep sunscreen in your bag. Grab a few travel- size sunscreens to keep on hand so you don’t have to drag a big bottle around. The travel-size spray sunscreens are my favorite for quick applications.
- Travel-size first aid kit. Another one of my favorite things, from the travel-size section of the store, is perfect to have in your bag so you always have a Band-aid ready.
- Grocery bags. Sticking a few grocery bags at the bottom of your bag will save you time and again. Dirty diapers, wet clothes, and for any number of other random events, a grocery bag can help fix it.
The Summer-Ready Home
Recently we made some changes to how things run in our home and it has made a world of difference, but that’s another post for another day. What it has taught me though is that a little bit of structure can go a long way in preserving the overall feeling of your home and actually giving you more time and freedom. Crazy, right? So on that note:
- Come up with a routine and schedule. A basic daily routine and schedule will ensure that not only are you having the summer you want, you stay on top of your life as well. This can be as simple or as detailed as you feel is best for you family, but trust me, something is much better than nothing. I’m super excited to use this calendar from The Essential Calendar this summer!
- Set your home up for success. Again, those hot summer days can be long and sometimes it’s just not feasible to get out in the heat of the afternoon. Take some time to stock your art supplies and set up a few areas in your home dedicated to specific activities. Check out this post for some other ideas!
- Snack drawers. In your fridge and in your pantry, have a dedicated place with prepared snacks, either prepackaged or prepared by you. Having a place where children can grab their own snacks gives them some independence and saves you a little bit of time.
- Water bottles. If your kids are anything like mine, they go through about ten cups a day. I once saw the idea to clear a shelf in your refrigerator and use that space for water bottles. They can be continuously refilled throughout the day and you can also grab them on the way out the door.
And finally, this summer I plan to either hire a babysitter once a week for a few hours or swap child care with a friend. This will give me time to recharge and/or run some errands kid free. If you find yourself needing one or both of those things (or time for anything else!), I encourage you to do the same.
Just a few simple preparations can help your summer days run a little more smoothly, leaving more room for adventure! Happy Summer!