Make sure to listen to all four episodes in the Summer series — Food, Lifestyle, Om, and Work. These four episodes are a series that I created as an “extra” as we transfer from the school year to summer. If you feel a bit overwhelmed by the busyness that can be summer, you aren’t alone and this episode is for you.
Summer has way more transitions than in the school year: a different camp every week (or maybe no childcare at all), but you still have all the same responsibilities you had when the kids were in school. That can make it hard to have the “easy” summer you might dream about, the one of beaches and vacations and laid back fun.
When I started planning my summer, thing changed. By planning I don’t mean overscheduling, but it does mean thinking through what you want out of the season, what needs to happen, and how it can happen. Since I started my summer planning, I have crafted summers that are a refreshing combo of dedicated work time and full on kids time. Mixed in with some me time and some date moments. I no longer dread summer, and I hope after a little planning you won’t either!
The planning sheets, which I highly recommend downloading, look so simple that you may forget to do them, but I can tell you from personal experience that they can completely change the feeling of the summer.
You can do this work even if you have your whole summer planned out. This is really about filling in the little details so you make time for the things that matter – on rainy days and sunny ones.
These are four things I’ve done to make a huge difference in my summer.
We set summer goals.
- We sit down as a family and map out some of the things we want to do together and individually over the summer. As always, I look for balance (that’s why I created the worksheet that balances rainy day things with sunny day things, individual things with family things, social events with quieter time.)
- The list lives on the fridge. If I am working, and my kids can visit the list and see that one of their goals is to make a book and can escape to do that. If we wake up and we thought it was going to be a beach day, but it is raining, we already have many possibilities to choose from.
- We also include rituals that we want to implement, like allowance, pickling, and canning, which are easier to become habit when we are relaxed. And come September we are relaxed, satisfied, and have fresh jam for the winter.
I let go of too much scheduling. This may sound the opposite of planning, but not being overscheduled is a key to our summer. My kids are older now, but even when they were all camp age, I often chose a babysitter over camp. Why?
- Not having to get us all out of the house in the morning buys me all kinds of freedom. I get to go to yoga or on a run at 6:00am because I don’t have to be back to pack lunches and have everyone out the door by 7:30.
- It allows me to work a few very full days and have a whole day at the beach at least once during the week.
- Most importantly, it lets my kids just decompress and be kids after a full year of learning and a stricter schedule. I feel like they get time to actually integrate what they learn! When we do schedule things, we make sure there is downtime on either side!
I make extra time for food. There are so many ways we can foster healthy family eating in the summer:
- There are farmers markets everywhere, so I can easily shop local and eat in season, and the kids can pick out produce and meet farmers. We can also visit farms to pick our own berries or tomatoes.
- I can cook with the kids in a more relaxed manner. And we enjoy family dinners that don’t always come together as easily during the school year, because the days are longer and bedtime can be more relaxed.
- We make healthy smoothies and popsicles, and lots of pudding. I feel like there are more meals in the summer (though there aren’t!), but on the flip side, that gives us more opportunities to eat well!
I make time for friends. There is something that happens during the school year where I see enough people at school, at birthday parties, and for work, and I crave alone time. But the summer months can be kind of isolating! So as part of our intentions, we make a list of dinners we want to have and friends we want to see – both as a family and individually. Sometimes summer events happen by default: work events, family reunions, the place you have visited since childhood. But what would happen if mixed in with those social events you made time for the friends who are in your position and lift you up?
These four things are part of a summer plan, and the planning sheets create the framework for you to take the action you need to take to be personally responsible for what you really want out of this season. They do the same for your kids. And then they help the whole family really understand and accept in advance what it means to be part of a group — your family.
I talk through how to do the sheets on the episode. Listen to the episode at the top of the post.
And have a blast making your summer feel amazing!
Get the previous episode: Summer & Food