It’s coming. Before you realize it, the end of the year teacher gifts and school banquets are upon you. You’ll be running yourself ragged trying to make sure you bring the school year to a close with no detail overlooked. You’ll sit back, proudly congratulating yourself on your achievements, only to realize summer break is upon you.
Phases of Summer Break
Every year, without fail, summer break goes in phases. It begins with celebrating the lack of morning alarms. Lazy days without the bustle of school and endless related tasks. Soon thereafter, boredom sets in and the arguing begins. You wonder how you will survive the summer. Then, before you know it, you find yourself striking a balance between laid back days with little structure and fun days out where everyone is actually enjoying themselves. Just when you think you have it all under control, you get the letter in the mail reminding you of the first day of school and the onslaught of tasks that lay ahead. Where did the summer break go?
Plan of Attack
Be determined not to fall prey to the blurred summer breaks of yesteryear; make plans to have a fun-filled summer before it gets here. Be sure to incorporate plenty of physical activity in your day. You can get moving by taking a nice walk through the park or you can make a day out of going to the beach. You can’t go wrong with throwing on a beach dress, packing a picnic and making memories that will last a lifetime.
However you decide to spend your days, don’t let them slip away from you; try to maintain a routine. Just because you don’t have the strict scheduling demands of a regular school day doesn’t mean having some semblance of structure won’t serve you well even when the kids are on break. People, especially children, thrive on having a routine because change can be stressful. By keeping a schedule, you avoid unnecessary stress and help children foster self-control and learn responsibility.
Watch Your Pennies
The cost of summer break doesn’t have to break the bank. Granted, certain activities, like summer camps, can be costly. However, there are steps you can take all year long to help you budget for those added expenses. Money mindlessly spent throughout the year can be the difference of thousands when you stop and add up exactly how much you’re spending.
Limit eating out to once a week or a month, depending on how much you need to save to offset summertime costs. When grocery shopping, buy in bulk whenever possible. Also, don’t discount the saving power of cutting coupons. Another winning strategy for budgeting is to have a direct deposit go into a separate savings account every payday. You may be surprised how you don’t miss that $50 going into the bank because you set up a direct deposit.
Organize Your Day
To have a stress-free and fulfilled summer break, be sure to organize your days. The easiest way to do that is to plan a family calendar. If you have younger children, you could have a dry erase board, or even three (one for every month of the summer break) and have your plans out for any member of the family to reference and know what to expect. You can even go so far as to color-code the entries for each family member to keep confusion to a minimum. In contrast, if you have a house full of tech-savvy teens, set up a Google calendar you can all access.
Summer breaks are meant to be enjoyed, with a bit of planning and foresight, you could all have the best summer ever.