Summer is a busy time for parents. There’s swimming, camps, sleepovers, picnics, playgrounds—not to mention the everyday chores like laundry that need tending to. It can be hard to manage it all in one day!
So what can parents do to juggle the demands of parenting, while still finding balance in their day and keeping their sanity? Trying to be all and do all is an impossible task. Setting realistic priorities and expectations will allow you to approach your day with more focus and confidence and allow you to be your best for your family. Below are more tips for juggling the demands of parenting, especially during the summer months.
Plan and organize
One of the first steps in managing all this summer fun is to get that information out of your head and onto paper. Decide what type of calendar will best keep you organized-would you prefer to use a digital or printed calendar? You and your child could even craft a calendar together that uses basic icons to show your activities for the week, such as “waves” for swimming, a “book” for the library, “slide” for the playground!
Over the weekend, jot down the activities you have planned for the upcoming week, such as swim lessons, dinner at Grandma’s, blueberry picking, etc. Then, with your children, pick a few additional activities you want to do during the week. Examples could be: visit the library, go to the park, swim in a lake.
How many additional activities you want to squeeze into your day/week is up to you. Planning ahead will keep you from overextending yourself. Remember, simple routines can simplify life. Be sure to leave time for resting and the lazy days that allow you and your children to recharge and your children to learn to occupy themselves.
Having a plan for the week can also help your kids know what to expect. Routines and schedules have the advantage of creating structure and helping kids feel safe as they navigate their daily lives.
Prep ahead of time
Look for other places in your life that could benefit from some prepping ahead of time. For example, if you know you’ll be at the pool several days of the week, have a designated swim bag—preloaded with towels, extra clothes, pool toys, goggles, sunscreen, snacks, water bottles—at the ready. Keep it by the front door.
Other ideas include:
- Meal plan: Before you head to the grocery store, pick the dinner meals you want to prepare Monday through Friday. Make a list of the ingredients you need.
- Prepare crockpot meals in the morning, so they will be ready to go for dinner.
- Some grocery stores have the option of purchasing groceries online, then either picking them up or having them delivered to your home. It’s a great time-saver and can be used in conjunction with your meal planning.
- For kids in summer camps, pack lunches the night before and get their clothes ready for the next day.
- Shower at night to ease your morning routine.
Secure time for self-care
Self-care for parents is important year-round, but can be especially important during times of stress or when you feel otherwise overwhelmed or burnt out. As parents, we do a lot for our kids and it can be easy to overlook our own needs. This summer, make room in your routine to care for your health and do something you enjoy!
This could include:
- Read a chapter in a book once per day or once per week.
- Eat healthy, seasonal fruits and veggies.
- Take a walk through your neighborhood or on a local trail.
- Spend a few moments alone taking deep breaths—in the sunshine!
If your own needs as an adult are being met, it is much easier to be patient with your child and be available to them when they want to tell you about their soccer lesson or show you a “cool trick” they learned. It is also easier to stay calm during the hard moments.
This article is brought to you by Parenting Now Parenting Educators and authors Amanda Bedortha, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson (andupdatemywebsite.com).