Get ahead of summer chaos now

Get Ahead of Summer Chaos Now

With record amounts of snowfall in the Northeast, ice storms in the South, and the Midwest pummeled with blizzard after blizzard, this has certainly been a winter for the record books. Since it is still months before you’ll bask in truly warm temperatures again, it may seem like summer is too far away to worry about. But it’s never too early to get a jump-start on your planning. Does your summer include camps and enrichment programs for the kids? What about a family vacation? Sit down with a mug of hot chocolate and your warm slippers and spend a little time this week thinking warm thoughts about the ways you want you and your family to spend those coveted summer days.

Here’s a day-by-day list of what you can do to start getting your summer plans lined up:

1. Monday:

If you’re a dreamer, then this will be your favorite part of the week. Sit down and think about what you really want to do this summer. Dreaming of trying something you’ve never done before? Want the kids to learn to swim? Thinking about taking that trip to the national parks? Jot down your many ideas (and remember that no idea is a bad one!) in a notebook or on your computer.

2. Tuesday:

If Monday was all about dreaming, Tuesday is all about reality. Take a long, hard look at your budget and figure out what works for you and, if applicable, your family. That expensive basketball camp may be high up on the list, but it might not be doable this year. Once you’ve set a budget for activities/vacations/day trips, etc., you’ll have a better idea of how to focus your many ideas.

3. Wednesday:

Now that you have an idea of what you are interested in doing this summer and you are armed with the knowledge of what you can really afford, Wednesday is the day to dig in and do some research. Get all of the necessary information about locations, travel costs, camp application deadlines, etc. If you’re doing your research online, don’t waste paper printing things out. Simply clip relevant web pages and save it in a “summer” folder using Evernote (www.Evernote), an incredible free program.

4. Thursday:

As any mother of school-aged children knows, all of the camps and summer activities come with their own lists of deadlines. It can be a little overwhelming, especially if you have several children registering at different camps. Make a list of all of the dates – when the application is due, when payment needs to be sent, when medical forms are required, etc. Then transfer the list to your calendar. A little organization up front means you’ll never hear the words “waiting list” again.

5. Friday:

You’ve zeroed in on your interests, figured out the budget, and learned what you need to do, so today is the day to talk it over with family members. Make sure your son really does want to go to baseball camp or your spouse is really okay with a camping trip instead of a beach vacation. After the family chat, book it. When summer rolls around, you’ll all be able to enjoy it that much more because you’re ready for it.

How do you plan your summers? What tips have you learned over the years to make your summer a smooth and memory filled season? We’d love to hear from you!