It’s that time again! Soon the last lunch will be packed. The last walk to the bus stop will be taken. The last morning of getting the kids up early to go to school.
Summer break is right around the corner. Can you see it?!
Sleeping in, family vacations, cookouts, catching some rays at the beach. It all seems so magical.
And then you realize that those little angels that you’ve only had to deal with all day on the weekend will be home with you all day.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for roughly 3 months…fun times!
If this is your first summer at home with the kids as a stay at home parent or parent that works from home believe me when I say,” You will make it!.”
My first summer home with the kids was a rough one. I was pretty sure by the end of it all either one of them was going to be missing or I was going to be missing.
But we all made it through the summer in one piece. And you will too.
How did we make it?
By the grace of God and by using theses 5 summer survival tips that I’m going to share with you.
Tip # 1 Come Up With A Daily Summer Survival Schedule
As I mentioned before my first summer as a stay at home mom was a rough one.
I’m usually not a planner. I’m a very go with the flow kind of person. I don’t like ridgid schedules and planning things to do.
If I want to take the kids to the movies we just get up and go to the movies. If I feel like taking them to the water park we just get up and go to the water park.
But when you have 2+ children just randomly deciding to get up and go somewhere become a big hassle and really frustrating real quick.
By the time I was three weeks into summer vacation I wanted to call it quits.
The kids were always bickering and fighting with each other, constantly asking for snacks, the house was always a wreck, and they were always “bored”.
I was at my limit. Something had to change.
What was that change?
I created a Summer Survival Schedule.
If you haven’t created a Summer Survival Schedule I suggest you do so ASAP. Even if your kids are still in school start thinking about it and planning it right now!
Trust me your sanity and your kids will thank you for it.
What Should Be Included In Your Schedule?
You can make your daily summer survival schedule as detailed or as simple as you want it to be but it should include the following:
- Sleep Schedule: Wake-up, nap, and bedtimes
- Meal Times: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and snack times.
- Free Time
- Quiet Time
- Activity Time (optional)
While activity time is optional if you have smaller kids at home they will appreciate the chance to do a fun activity during the day.
It will also give you a chance to bond with your kids throughout the week.
I’m sure there are a few other things you could add to the schedule, but for me, the first four are an absolute necessity.
Obviously your schedule should be tailored to the needs of your family and your children. A family with older kids may have a more flexible schedule, while some on with smaller kids may want to keep a more rigid schedule.
The point is to make a schedule that works well for you and your family.
Tip #2: Create A Meal Plan
I don’t know about you, but I swear my kids are bottomless pits. I have 2 boys and 2 girls and it seems like they are always hungry.
If I don’t have a set snack time and meal plan in place my little darlings will eat up all the food in the house.
Creating a meal plan can seem like a daunting task. However, I find that if you do it weekly it’s easier to put together.
Just like the daily schedule your meal plan can be detailed or simple. There are tons of free resources and apps that you can use to help plan your families meals for the week.
You can even come up with themes for different day of the week. Meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday seem to be the most popular themed days.
My family is a big fan of Taco Tuesday, not so much Meatless Monday. The rest of the week is based on what we have available in the house.
Aside from the various meal planning apps and themed days of the week there is another way you can create your summer meal plans.
The Secret Meal Planning Tip
Do you want to know the easiest way to plan your families meals for the week or month?
Use your kids lunch menu from their school or daycare. Are you kids already out of school? I’m sure you can find their lunch menu on the school’s website.
My son’s preschool kept their lunch menu on the wall outside of the door. I noticed that the kids pretty much had the same things every month for lunch and snack.
The schedule would just rotate every other week. You can take out the meals that your kids won’t eat and replace them with something else.
Vola! A month of snacks and lunches already planned in advance by somebody else.
Why reinvent the wheel? You already have enough things to do during your busy day.
If you’re looking for ideas for healthy snacks or easy meal prep ideas check out these sites:
- 50+ Healthy Kids Snack Ideas (you can get a free summer meal planning guide)
- 50 Lunch Ideas for Kids at Home or For School
- 45 Easy Instant Pot Recipes To Make When You Need Dinner FAST ( I love my pressure cooker! It saves me so much time and keeps the house cooler since I don’t have to use the stove.)
Tip # 3: Plan to Have Fun
So we have our daily routine figure out. And our weekly/monthly meal plan is set and ready to go.
But what do we do with our kids during the meantime?
Will, we let them spend their free time mindlessly watching TV, playing on their cell phone or tablet, or playing video games all day?
While these activities are fun for our kids and let’s be honest they keep them quiet and out of our hair, unlimited access to electronic devices is not good for them.
One of the ways to combat this is to plan fun activities for your kids to do during the week.
I like being a couch potato and a homebody. I’m perfectly fine sitting in the house all day just watching tv.
However, I learned last year that my kids need to get out of the house and release all that pint up energy during the day. And we all need to get out of the house at least once a week.
Here are a few strategies that I plan to use this year to help keep my kids happy and active during the summer without spending a ton of money.
Strategy #1: Have A Theme for Each Day
Some parents like to have a theme for each day of the week and the activities you do with your kids are based on the day’s theme.
One of the more common sets of themes that I’ve seen are:
- Make it Mondays
- Take A Trip Tuesday
- Water Day Wednesday
- Thoughtful Thursday
- Fun Friday
Strategy #2: Have A Theme Week
This strategy is a little more like planning a summer camp for your kids. Each week has a different theme and the activities you do each day are related to the theme.
Examples of weekly themes:
- Week 1: Space Camp
- Week 2: Dinosaurs
- Week 3: Cooking
- Week 4: Music
Strategy # 3: Combine 1 & 2
As I was typing this the teacher in me began to take over and I realized that you could combine the first two strategies together. This gives you a theme and a direction for your weekly activities.
- Week 1 Theme- Space Camp
- Monday- draw a picture of the solar system or make a spaceship out of a cardboard box
- Tuesday- take a trip to the air and space museum
- Wednesday- do an experiment with water
- Thursday- write a letter to an astronaut
- Friday- Have a space race
Strategy # 4: Let The Kids Plan The Activities
As a parent and a former teacher, I have realized that what I think will be fun or interesting for my kids is not always the case.
I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I have planned to take the kids to do something that we thought they would like only for it to be a big flop.
One of the things I have decided to do this year was to find out what activities my kids wanted to do for the summer.
So far I’ve learned that my 8 year old wants to continue taking swimming lessons, my 5 year old wants to go to the beach, my 4 year old wants to go to the zoo, and my baby girl just wants to play in the water.
Granted that’s not everything they wanted to do this summer, but they can be worked into the schedule and I know that they will be doing something that they will enjoy.
If you have trouble coming up with ideas you can check out the following links:
- 50 Fun Summer Activities for Kids
- 85 Big Awesome Things to Do with the Kids All Summer Long
- 38 Free or Cheap Summer Activities to For Kids
No matter which strategy you choose the point is to schedule a fun activity for your kids at least once a week.
Tip # 4: Everybody Cleans Up
I don’t know about you but I really despise having to pick up after my kids all day. Keeping the house clean and organized is pretty simple when they are all at school.
But when they come home the house goes from neat to disaster area in a matter of minutes.
To keep the chaos and clutter to a minimum I make my kids clean up periodically throughout the day.
That way I don’t have to spend quiet time trying to clean up the house. I can focus on something important like working on my blog, the volunteer schedule for children’s church, or any of the other things that I need to get done on my to do list.
You could add these cleaning sessions to your daily routine or do it on an as needed basis.
Remember even toddlers can help clean up and keep the house organized.
Tip # 5: Screen Time Rules
Maybe you don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to plan something for your kids to do every day, but you also don’t want them to spend hours watching a screen all day.
One of the more common things I’ve seen on Pinterest is screen time rules or contracts for kids.
You basically give your kids a list of things that they have to do before they can get on their electronic devices or watch tv.
The activities range from basic self-care and chores: teeth brushing, making the bed, getting dressed to completing various tasks: reading a book for 30 minutes, playing outside, exercising for 20 minutes, completing workbook pages.
It’s pretty much up to the parent what activities their kids have to do before they can earn screen time.
If you’re interested in learning how to create screen time rules for your kids check out the link below:
Tip # 6: Use Your Research Skills
A few months ago I wrote a post about the 5 skills that all effective stay at home parents need (if you haven’t read it you can read it here). One of those skills was the ability to do research.
If this is your first year as a stay at home parent there is a steep learning curve when it comes to finding free and/or low cost resources and activities for you and your children to participate in.
It wasn’t until I had kids that I learned that movie theaters had dollar movies days during the summer months.
And it wasn’t until my family became a one income household that I began to take advantage of those days.
I also learned that my city had parenting groups and free and low-cost activities at the local library and community center that my kids and I could participate in.
As I mentioned before, my youngest daughter loves to play in the water. If I had not done my research I wouldn’t know that on Thursdays at 10 am I can take my kids to the mini-splash zone at the mall for free.
They can run around and play all they want. The mall provides blocks and ramps for the kids to play and build towers in the splash zone.
The kids always have a good time when we go. They are often ready for a nice long nap afterward.
Join a local parenting Facebook group and find out what’s out there in your community for you and your kiddos to do.
Besides local parenting groups you should also check the following places:
- Local library
- Child’s School
- Local recreation center and/or YMCA
- Boys and Girls Club
- Colleges and Universities
Many of these places offer summer programs for children that are free or don’t cost much.
If you’re looking for information on the $1 movie days check out the links below.
- Dollar Days at the Movies
- Free meals text food to 877877, then text your zip code (US only).
Tip # 7: Make Time For You
My final tip for today is just as important as all the rest. You can have the best daily schedule, meal plan, fun time extravaganze put together this summer.
But none of that matters if you don’t make time for you.
For parents that work from home finding time for yourself during the summer can be difficult.
But you have to make time for yourself. I know we’re expected to be supermom and superdad, but even superheroes need a break.
Make time in your daily schedule for the things you want to do.
You can’t do that if you are constantly working or focusing on trying to get chores done when the kids are asleep.
Don’t spend every nap time trying to get the house clean, working on your blog, catering to your spouse, or any of the other 9,000 things you’ve got on your list.
Everybodies self care routine is different. The important thing is that you have one.
If can be something as simple as having a cup of coffee in the morning while the kids are still sleep to having a full out spa day.
Trust me you will be glad that you did.
If you find yourself getting stressed out and overwhelmed don’t forget to use your resources.
Send the kids to their grandparents for a few days, schedule a playdate with one of their friends, sign them up for a week long camp or vacation bible school, hire a sitter for a few hours.
The summer can be fun and full of excitement, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming at times.
It’s ok to ask for help and it’s ok to take a mental health day.
I hope these 7 summer survival tips have inspired and encouraged you as you start your journey into summer.
It is not for the faint of heart and I’m sure by the time school starts you will be all too happy to go buy their school supplies.
A little planning goes will go a long way in helping you maintain your sanity throughout the next few months. Along with a little self care along the way.
Are you a veteran stay at home parent? Do you have any other tips that you would add to this list on how to survive the summer with your kids?
If you are new to stay at home parenting, which tips do you think will work best for you this summer?
I would love to hear what you guys think. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment. Also don’t forget to like and share this post.
Don’t forget to download your Summer Survival Tool Kit!
Until Next Time,