Graduation season is upon us. And for parents with younger children, school doors are about to burst open with kids who are jubilant to be home and free of the confines of lockers, lunches and lessons. Without the structure of school regimens guiding their time, we need to prepare at home for daily routine changes that will happen for both kids and adults alike. We like to help parents find ways to make routines that are easy so kids can enjoy their freedom, have access to things that will keep them engaged, and keep everyone's day running smoothly.
One of the first things we can do once the kids are home is to remove daily school clutter. We suggest reviewing any saved school papers, homework, notebooks and school art that has collected throughout the year. Keep the items that might be for keepsake and recycle the rest. This also includes letting go of school calendars, lunch menus, workbooks and text books that aren't needed. Start by reviewing book bags and homework areas, and work through any desks, closets or drawers that might be holding unnecessary papers.
We can also look at closets and drawers to make sure summer clothes and play clothes are accessible. Move any better school clothing or school uniforms to the back of the closet or into a seasonal bin. Perhaps you want to preserve a pair of better tennis shoes so they don't get ruined during heavy outdoor play or put out the flip flops and swim shoes so you won't have to rummage for them all summer long.
Speaking of flip-flops, do you have pool passes or summer sports lined up this summer? Now is a great time, to wash up towels and bathing suits, get out gear bags and stage supplies so that kids, parents and caretakers alike know where everything is located. These sundries may include a full range of items like water bottles, sunscreen, eye goggles and sun glasses, pool toys, sports uniforms and duffle bags filled with all the required game-day garb.
But this summer ritual isn't just about deconstructing the school day, it is also about changing gears at home too, and finding way to keep kids engaged and involved in learning. Reading is one of the best things kids can do to help keep little minds active. I like to collect all the books from around the home and make sure they are placed on a shelf or in an area that makes reading enjoyable. Along with your child, you can set up a summer reading list. Perhaps an extra treat can be included for each book or series that is completed in the summer series.
With more time for the outdoors, comes more space needed for outdoor toys. We suggest designating an area in a garage, mudroom or outdoor area where kids can get toys that are meant for the outdoors. (By the way, do they even make yard darts anymore? I used to love those!) Anyways, sports balls and kites, and sand toys, and outdoor chalk and bubble makers, and bug collector kits all can be conveniently located in one area. And your kids can help select where to put them and gather these things to be kept in their summer home! It is also good to take a look at bike helmets and protective pads to make sure they are in good shape and fit their owners.
Also if you want to help kids keep a sense of schedule, you can work on a Summer roster that helps plan for fun and for responsibilities. Maybe you want to limit screen time, or make sure that there is time set aside for practicing instruments or for summer chores. Now is the time to help map that out together so that kids know what to expect for the next 70+ days.
And just one more thing to be completely summer ready. You may want to plan ahead for more snacks or food and chilled beverages while kids are at home. Summer activities will surely keep them heading for the fridge more often.
Well that should be a good start to get ahead of the dog days! Bring on Summer! And let us know some of your organizing tips for the summer months!