Get ahead of summer chaos: 3 ideas for working moms


Sarah Welch

posted in Tips & Tricks

Have your children already begun their annual countdown to the last day of school?

Mine have!

And while I am so, so, so excited for the warmer summer months and all the fun they bring, I have to admit that as a working mom, the mere thought of complex summer schedules for the kids (not to mention the increased need for a mom taxi) gets the cortisol coursing through my veins.

Last week I had a panic about the month of June – which is the window when preschool is out but grammar school is not, and day camps haven’t yet started. To assuage my fears, my husband calmly sat with me as we went over our calendars for what seemed like the 10th time in as many weeks.

It was a good thing we did because we realized we had a big transportation gap on two days each week. Gaps we have subsequently addressed.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned in the past few years: a little preparation goes a long way to minimizing scheduling headaches. The most effective thing you can do to keep the stress freakouts at bay is to set aside time to get the entire family in synch for the upcoming changes.

Here are three ideas that might help you make a smooth(er) transition from regimented school schedules to the days of summer.

#1: Call a Summer Summit

When things are a little bit less regimented, the need for communication is heightened. So once you have figured out the foundational elements of summer schedules, call a family summit (at least between the grownups) to discuss summer dreams and put together a realistic plan that everybody can get excited about and…importantly…afford! The summit should cover two key areas: (1) daytime coverage in the form of day camps and activities and (2) ways the two of you can work together more effectively as a team to share everyday chores like pick-ups and drop-offs.

#2: Set Up a Buddy System

Your friends are probably in the same boat you are, so why not band together and set up a buddy system that lets you support each other over the summer? Connect with two other good friends who have children of the same age and pick three ‘swap’ days (one for June, one for July and one for August). On swap days, one ‘buddy’ will take all of the kids to do something fun for the day, giving the other two a much needed break. Also set up an email loop that makes it easy to reach out to each other for help with things like carpooling, babysitting and dinner ideas.

#3: Sync Schedules

Because your kids are likely to be participating in multiple activities, like swim team and soccer, you’ll need to keep activity schedules handy and make sure both parents know where they need to be on what days. Put together a master calendar of all of the different activity schedules and make sure the calendar is synced with your phone and (if applicable) your spouse’s. If you have a calendar in the kitchen transfer key dates there as well. That way, anybody can easily check the list to see where they need to be on a given day/time.

What’s your secret for getting ahead of summer schedule chaos? How many different day camps do you string together? What works for you?

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