When you’re a kid summer is a time of fun and relaxation. No school and no worries! It kind of goes in the opposite direction once you become a parent! Of course, it’s fun to have our children home with us more often but it can also bring its own challenges. Especially for parents who work and families who follow a strict budget. Preparing for summer break ahead of time can mean the difference between a fun-filled summer or a couple of months of stress.
Not quite sure how you’re going to manage this summer? Then these tips are for you!
Preparing for Summer Break, Make a plan for Success
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Lunch Meal Plans
While some children take packed lunches to school other’s are fed lunch and sometimes breakfast by the school themselves. Regardless of your situation having the kids home all day means that your grocery list will probably change.
Coming up with meal plans for lunch (and breakfast if needed) is a good way to make sure that your kids and your budget stay satisfied! If you are used to buying items for packed lunches then the budget impact might not be as strong as the money can simply be shifted to these new items.
If your family works on a tight budget and you will suddenly have to buy extra then planning ahead is key!
Family meal planners like the ones I’ve mentioned in previous posts can be very helpful! Using these planners you can plot meals that share ingredients or will last more than one day and ensure that your not spending money on items you don’t really need.
Plan Activities to Keep them Busy
If you’re used to getting a lot done during the day having the kids at home can certainly make an impact. This is especially true if you work from home! Suddenly your comfortable office space and work routine are interrupted with frequent requests for drinks, snacks and as the summer goes on complaints about boredom.
Having fun activities on hand to keep the kids occupied when you need to work or get some chores completed can make everyone a little bit happier. Planning activities doesn’t have to be expensive. You can check out your local dollar stores for cheap crafts and activities. Sticker books, bubbles, modeling clay – many of these will keep younger children occupied for hours!
If your children are a bit older than summer is the perfect time to teach new skills and implement age-appropriate chores. Teaching our kids the value of being responsible for some of the household chores not only frees up some of your time but will also keep them occupied for at least a portion of the day.
Have a Childcare Plan
Working parents often rely on the kids being in school. If they do pay for childcare then its often only for a couple of hours in the afternoon rather then the whole day. Some parents are lucky enough to work their schedules around the school so that they can avoid childcare costs altogether. This all changes when summer rolls around
Having a plan in place beforehand can really help lower the stress. If you aren’t lucky enough to have family or friends around to help you out then you might end up paying. Setting aside a small amount to save for this extra cost throughout the year can help lower the burden. If you’re having trouble finding people you can trust with your children you might look into local services.
Most city centers have agencies like Nannies and Kids United who are located in Atlanta GA. Nannies and Kids United places a big emphasis on building a strong relationship between the caregivers and the families which is essential when you’re looking for someone to take care of your kids. Caregivers from these agencies are typically background checked and receive training to make sure they can look after your kids in the best possible way. There are even caregivers who specialize in newborn care! No matter where you live keeping things like this in mind is very important. You don’t want to go to work every day stressed out about what might be happening back home.
Last But Not Least! Start thinking about Back to School
While childcare and increased grocery costs can be a bit of a burden during the summer months it’s important not to forget about back to school! Summer break might seem like it lasts forever when it first starts but in reality it’s only a couple short months.
Before long you will be faced with buying school supplies and school clothes or uniforms all over again. School supplies typically go on sale at the end of summer but setting aside money periodically throughout summer will help offset that big one time cost.
If possible pick up clothing items as you find them and set them aside for the new year. Check over your children’s clothes from last year. If any of them have survived the year in good shape and still fit consider using them again, if your children have younger siblings it’s also worthwhile to consider passing them down. Summer is a great time to go through your children’s wardrobe, clear out and donate items that no longer fit and figure out exactly what they need for the coming school year.
Do you spend time preparing for summer break?