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Family sitting in hammock

Around August I start panicking. The fully stocked back-to-school shelves in Target remind me that the close of another summer looms. I spin the rolodex of summer activities in my head – have we done everything the kids wanted to do? What about what I wanted to do? Has it been meaningful? Fun? Have we made memories that will last a lifetime? They will never be this age again! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh {insert panic}.

The summer weeks go by too quickly – we are wise to think about how to make the most of our time. Learning how to schedule wisely is one of the best ways to ensure that we control our summer and not let it control us!

How to Plan the Best Summer Yet!

1. List all of the required activities and events and put them on the calendar. These are non-negotiable items (weddings, family reunions, sports tryouts, etc.). Ours this year are: my husband’s work commitments, a family reunion at the lake, high school soccer tryouts, football tryouts.

2. Brainstorm and make a list of those activities you want to take priority on the summer schedule. These are the fun items – the “memory makers.”

For example, we are prioritizing our middle son backpacking with Dad, a father/daughter adventure week, camping with cousins from Oregon, family camp, and a visit from close friends.

3. Put the priorities on the calendar. And…are you ready for this? DON’T MOVE THEM. If you’ve blocked out a week to be at home with the family for a stay-cation, then when your college roommate asks if she can come for a visit during those dates, you say “No, we are on vacation.” Make them a priority in your mind and don’t let other engagements shove them off the calendar.

4. Ask the kids what is important to them and put some of those items on the schedule. Notice, this comes after the family priorities. I’m all for group decision making, but parents see the full picture and what may need to take priority.

5. List the

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“extras” you want to do that haven’t been put on the calendar. You may be someone who likes unscheduled free time in the summer. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but block out some days that are “scheduled” unscheduled time. These are reserved for the lemonade stand, ice cream truck, capture the flag, outdoor movie kind of days. For us, we have some great bike trails that only open in the summer. These are on our calendar, along with some other local outings.

With this approach, though the end of August will still sneak up, we can rest in the satisfaction of having spent our time well.

If there is anything I’ve learned in my parenting years, it is that time moves so fast, and we never get it back. I’m going to make sure we soak up every moment and have our best summer yet!

What do you do to make the most of your summer?

Here are some great resources for your summer lists!

Summer Random Acts of Kindness Service Opportunities from Thirty Handmade Days

101 Summer Fun Ideas from I Heart Naptime

32 Backyard Games and Activities by Listotic

Summer Bucket List Printables by Simply Kiersti

Blank Summer Bucket List Printable by Absolutely Bositively

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