Summers are for ice cream, bbq’s, exploring and lots of outdoor activities but it can be a little stressful when you get to a place and nothing goes according to plan, or maybe worse, if there is no plan. Before having kids, this wouldn’t have been a big deal. Who doesn’t like some spontaneity while being out and about?? With kids.. I can tell you from experience it ain’t that fun! These are some of the things I’ve learned as a summer obsessed mom of two.
1. Make a Summer bucket list: I am a list person, an in-your-face kind of list person, so I need to write things down where I will see it. I love white boarding! I keep a medium sized white board under my bed and pull it out to write my goals, the things I want to do and places I want to visit. Make a list of all the spots you want to visit, old and new. Check your list daily and refine it, add new places, and most importantly, find meaning in completing your list. You can make a completion bucket list or a Pinterest board with awesome pics from your adventures. At the end of summer I like to print/develop all my favourite summer pictures and put them in our family album. I’ve been doing this since college and it makes me so happy!
These are some of the things on our bucket list for this summer:
- Teach Zaphora how to swim
- Go to a new park
- Take a dance class with the girls
- Go to a museum
- Dance and kiss in the rain
- Take the girls to a Basketball game
- Go on a hike
- Have picnic at our park
- Make a pie from scratch
2. Pack the essentials: This is a no brainer but it’s a life saving reminder when you have kids. Water, snacks, sunscreen, extra diapers, wipes, change of clothes. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to interrupt our family outings in search of water and diapers. A good way to make sure you’ve got everything is to pack from the night before. If I’m packing in a rush I almost always forget something. If you are forgetful like me, keep a list of essentials on your phone to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
3. Keep track of time: Ok, so keeping track of time has never been my forte but I am definitely getting better at it. My husband on the other- best planner EVER. There are days that a whole day of being out and about seem like endless fun all because of good time management. What I find works best for our family outings is to have a detailed hour by hour plan. Set a time for lunch, nap time for the kids and a maybe a coffee break while you’re out and about. It also helps to map out a route to know exactly which restaurant, park, coffee shop, you’ll go be going to. Our outings and trips are so much smoother when we do the planning before we leave the house!
4. Let the kids choose: Once you’ve created a list of several activities you think the family would enjoy, let the kids have a say in what makes the final cut. Getting the kids involved in the process of planning activities makes it fun for them because they know what to expect. Its also a way to get them excited for the days ahead. For example, when we took Zaphie to the Zoo we talked about all the animals we would see and which ones she wanted to see first. For a picnic I’ll have her help me prepare our picnic basket. Simple tasks as putting crackers in a ziplock bag, or helping set up the picnic blanket give her a sense of pride and enjoyment. When the kids enjoy, the adults can enjoy with them!
5. Set aside some time for photos: Of course you’re going to want to take pictures of your adventures! The key is finding the balance to do so while enjoying the moment at the same time. When we go on trips we like to schedule a picture day (usually the 2nd or 3rd day) for taking photos throughout our day. This means I get up extra early to get ready and get the kids ready. If we’re just heading out for a day in the city, we spend the first few hours enjoying our walk, coffee or meal and then when everyone is happy we bring out the camera. We don’t take pictures every time we go out and sometimes when we do plan on taking pictures they just don’t end up happening. Mood and spontaneity are so important, specially when it comes to photographing kids. You just can’t force it.
As much as we love being on the move, we also love having lazy weekends, lounging on the couch, playing games, cuddling, playing music, watching Netflix, reading books and the list goes on and on!
Hopefully you found some of these tips helpful and would love to know any tips you guys have for planning your perfect staycation.
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Written By: Daniela Arevalo