5 Last-Minute Musts Before School’s Out

Depending on where in the country you live, the countdown until school is out for the summer is nearing single digits (if not already completely over and forgotten in the panicked adjustment of having your entire brood – and their friends – around all day long).

It’s a big shift from peaceful morning hours of errands, chores and, if you can squeeze one in, a mani/pedi to giving all your attention all the time. Face it: things are going to slip a little until you get your mega-multi-tasking feet under you and adjust to two and a half months of lunches at home.

For a seamless switch to summer’s routine, try getting a head start this year.

Clean Up Your Act

And by act, I mean your home. Starting from scratch (or, at the very least, starting from sparse) gives you a little extra time – and space – before your kids’ clutter becomes uncontainable once more. Hall closets, toy trunks, last summer’s pool floaties: take stock in what you need and what can be donated or trashed to make room for the latest “Mom I need this right now” items.

Stock Up on Snacks
It may not seem like such a big deal. After all, little tummies are easy to fill with a couple cookies and some string cheese. But no mom, no matter how health-conscious, wants to be known for her bad snack selection. Think back to that house from your childhood that only had carrot sticks and celery to munch on. You know exactly the one I’m talking about.

Keep your eyes peeled for great grocery deals on fun treats and cool snacks that will keep a kitchen of kids satiated and smiling. That doesn’t necessarily mean sugar-bombs and Doritos. Think tortilla chips and salsa, apple slices with cinnamon sprinkled on top, or lightly-seasoned popcorn. Easy to make and even easier to buy in bulk: perfect!

Finish that Book You’ve Been Putting Off
If you don’t finally finish The Help right now, you won’t get another chance until after Labor Day. And, by then, you’ll forget what the whole story is about, start it all over again, and be right back where you started next summer. Stay up a little bit later than usual this week and finish it off for good.

Brainstorm a List of Backup Plans
I give even the most summer-minded kid about month before the novelty of sleeping in and sun gets old. Prevent moping, whining and endless cries of “I’m boooored” by having a list of fun and interesting activities for when they can no longer occupy themselves.

Look up what kind of lessons are available in your neighborhood or at a community center. Anything from guitar to ballet to swimming to unicycling will offer hours or entertainment. Is there anything your pre-teen can learn with just a group of friends? Think about investing in a two-dollar hacky sack and sending them to the back yard.

Create Your Support System
Your relationships with other parents are going to save you by the time mid-July rolls around and you’re feeling frazzled. Prime your parenting karma by offering to take your neighbors children to the zoo on your next trip, or considering inviting your book club’s families over for a big barbecue. The kids will play together, and you get some much needed one-on-one adult time over a couple of margaritas. If you get the ball rolling, the other parents you know will repay the favor and take your kids off your hands when you need the me-time the most.

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