Alright mamas, let’s keep getting those summer plans pulled together! By now I hope you have had a chance to download the form and pray through the exercise in the first post of this series. We now move on to one of my favorite parts! The Summer-At-A-Glance Calendar!
Before We Get Started, Don’t Make My Mistakes
Even though this system is wonderful and quite comprehensive, you need to know that I don’t do every part every summer. And you NEED to know I’ve made lots of mistakes over the years. All planners will be able to relate to these blunders:
- Having unrealistic expectations about what we can accomplish over summer break
- Over-planning tons of extra academic work and frustrating my kids
- Getting planning paralysis trying to make everything perfect and color-coded
- Devoting way too much time to this endeavor while totally ignoring my husband and kids. The plan became the point which. is. ridiculous!
- Producing a wondrous plan and then being so exhausted from the process I became desensitized to the plan and never looked at it again all summer
The point of all of this is to have a plan so I can love my family and enjoy summer with them! So don’t make my mistakes. Enjoy the process but realize it is an ends to the main means of serving and enjoying your family.
Now let’s get started!
Our next 3 steps are very practical:
- Create a “Brain Dump” or master to do list for every single thing you need to do to transition to summer. Every. Single. Thang! Do you need to set up regular playdates? Are you cleaning out closets? Call tutors, set up summer piano lessons, buy items for a summer fun basket, etc.? Pool membership? Doctor’s appointments? What biblical materials might you need to buy to make the bible times you are about to schedule go smoothly? (I love christianbook.com!). WRITE IT ALL DOWN (don’t forget to include the items you wrote down and prayed through on the Mamastrong Summer Child Development Planner 2016 from the first post!!)
- Schedule Action Items! THIS IS A CRITICAL STEP: Get out whatever device you use to get things done: smartphone, paper planner, wall calendar, etc. and PLUG IN WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO DO EACH THING ON YOUR MASTER TO DO LIST AND WHICH ITEMS YOU CAN DELEGATE (AND TO WHOM YOU ARE DELEGATING THEM). I use a combination of my smartphone and an Erin Condren lifeplanner, and I usually plan my week during my Weekend Reset most Saturdays. This is when and where I will plug in these to do’s! If I don’t schedule them they will likely remain just words on a piece of paper.
- Plug in all pertinent dates into your summer-at-a-glance calendar! I promised this form in the last post and here it is! This is probably the single most important form in my summer planning kit. It allows me to see the entire summer on one sheet of paper. From this I am able to see when vacation falls regarding guitar lessons, when date night will be with the new sitter (and when she will be on vacation so I can get another sitter), when kids are traveling on missions trips and on and on. This calendar is where I also plug in those $1 movie days, book club meetings at the bookstore and other fun activities around town.
As I said in the first post, I am including a pic of the doc so you can see it and also a link so you can customize and print it. But do me a favor, okay? If you use my intellectual property can you please have integrity and give me credit for it if someone asks you about it or you post anything while using it? Not saying you wouldn’t but you’d be surprised how much thievery there is out there. Please don’t be an anus (“anus” being the proper rendering of a much more colorful expletive also beginning with an “a“).
Here’s the free, customizable, downloadable form: mamastrong summer at a glance calendar 2016.
Here’s the visual:
Here’s what mine looks like so far. My printer is really old so that is probably why the colors are so different, but you can modify the doc to look however you want:
School Recovery Week
As you can see, I have scheduled a week to just chill and vegetate called the “School Recovery Week.” I find my kids are usually fried and need a week to just be without any structured activities. During this week they wake up when they want, wear pajamas all day, don’t make their beds, binge on movies and technology (for 2 days of the week only), have no learning appointments and are basically bums. We spend all day at the pool, eat cereal for dinner and have bad breath. It is a glorious week of refreshment and farewell to a hard-fought and well-won school year!
What Goes In the Summer-At-a-Glance Calendar?
But back to the planning part!
Here are some ideas to get your juices flowing for filling in your calendar:
- What are YOUR needs? Do you have organizing or deep cleaning to do? Painting? Will you need to travel for work? Try to include projects you need to do in your planning so you are not scrambling to squeeze it in at the end of summer.
- Will you put in a School Recovery Week?
- What are the academic needs of your kiddos? Those end-of-year report cards and conferences are coming up! I always get a list of areas my kiddos need work on at the Parent-Teacher Conference (and for help on organizing that time with forms and a binder go to this post) that help me understand what gaps we can try to fill over summer. Will you need any tutors or occupational therapists, etc.?
- When is your down time? Your fun days? I try to make sure we go to the pool several times a week!
- Be sure to schedule YOUR REST TIME. Clear it with your husband, hire the sitter or work out a trade with another mom now. YOU WILL NEED IT. I can reserve an entire day in this season of life, but when I had 5 kids under the age of 9 I could only get a couple hours. Still, even those hours were critical. TAKE CARE OF YOU.
- Speaking of sitters, schedule in date nights for you and your hubby. Not married? Schedule a night with your girlfriends or significant other.
- Vacation? Trips to see friends or relatives?
- Music lessons, camps, playdates, etc?
- Any family coming to visit?
- Any important due dates coming up?
THE MAIN PURPOSE FOR THIS CALENDAR IS FOR ME TO GET AN IDEA OF HOW BOOKED WE ARE FOR SUMMER. When I think of summer I tend to think of this endless span of time, so when the kids ask if we can go to Hershey Park and the Zoo and Florida and the pool everyday my response is usually “Sure! We’ve got all summer!” But over the years I have learned that, even though the grind of school is over, summer can actually fill up rather quickly. This calendar helps me reach our summer goals of resting while still accomplishing what is important. Also, this calendar does not have every detail, just the major players so I have a good idea of the landscape. For instance, I can look at this and know that my kids will be receiving 10 full weeks of math tutoring. That is key when I get their summer math packets-I will know right away if they can be completed with the tutor or if some of the work will need to be done at home, and if work needs to be done at home I can schedule it in the Weekly Schedule, which we will be going over in the next post!
After I have completed this step of summer planning I have an excellent idea of what to expect. And that frees my mind up for other things like cuddling with my hubby or watching The Walking Dead.
Stay tuned for part 3 of the series in a few days where we will create the Summer Bucket List and build the Weekly Schedule! Here’s a sneak peek! I’ll include the free downloadable form next time!
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