Is that charcoal in the air or is that burning smell your desperation from still not knowing what to do with your kids this summer?
Either way, summer is upon us and I’m here to suggest that it’s not too late to make plans.
I am a huge procrastinator in this area, so learn from my mistakes and consider doing some of the following things. Now.
If you’re hoping to travel with particular family or friends this summer or crash at any of their houses for free, don’t take their availability for granted – initiate that conversation today if you haven’t already, as you’ll no doubt have competition for their company and spare bedrooms.
Make a budget. If you manage to lock in deposits and other commitments early, then you will already have a pretty good idea of how much this summer will cost you. Begin outlining your budget now for airfare, car-rentals, heavy restaurant dining, and other big-ticket items, so that you can figure out what’s left to spend. Also scope out your favorite hotel brands to see what summer specials they may be running and to re-familiarize yourself with their various amenities: If you’re road tripping, Residence Inn is a solid overnight option given the trifecta of free hot breakfast, free WiFi, and an above-average pool.
Figure out childcare. Unless you’re planning to take the entire summer off of work – and let’s face it, as much as we’d all love to, that’s probably never going to happen – start talking now to your child’s babysitter about her availability over the summer. With school being out, you’ll likely be paying your babysitter to work significantly more hours per day – and perhaps you may even want to take her along on any summer trips you may take – so figure this cost into your summer budget, too.
And if you typically call on your parents, siblings, or other family members to babysit during the school year, remember that they all have lives, too – talk to your family now if you think you’ll need them to watch your kids at any point this summer.
If you don’t get summer Fridays off, take some off anyway. Even if you can’t manage to plan any extended time off with your family this summer, force yourself to put in for occasional Fridays off so your family can at least enjoy some long weekends together.
And please, if your employer does give you Fridays off during the summer, actually take them. I can almost guarantee your career won’t advance faster if you give up these Fridays and, in case you were in need of this depressing reminder: You only have 18 summers to spend with your kids before they’re not kids anymore, so take advantage of all the time off you can get with them.
Plan your summer, too. While naturally you’ll be focused on ensuring all your kids’ needs are taken care of this summer, you and your significant other deserve and likely need some summer downtime, too. So agree ahead of time to take the occasional summer morning or afternoon off work for a grown-up play date, or perhaps go crazy and plan a summer overnight for only the two of you. And if by chance you’re planning to take an overseas trip this summer, now is also a good time for you to start brushing up on or learning your destination’s native language.
Image source: Tony Alter/Flickr