Summer Planning in January? It’s Not as Crazy as You Think!

Making the Most of Summer

Think summer has to be a struggle between work and family? Think again. Below are some of the things ThirdPath has learned about balancing work and family over the summer. And one of the most important things we’ve learned is to start the planning process in January.  Not only does this help with signing up for your kids’ favorite summer camps, it also means you have more time to make the most of this wonderful (and sometimes challenging) time of year!

Here are some things to keep in mind around summers:

  • Summers can allow for an enjoyable “slower pace” at home.
  • Summers also take A LOT of planning.
  • The age of your children will also have a big impact on what happens during the summer. What worked last year might not work again this year since your child is a whole year older!
  • Finding the “right” camp can be a highlight, but finding it can be quite a journey.
  • Another summer goal is finding the “right” mix of planned and unplanned activities – balancing boredom versus over scheduling.
  • Summers can also provide an opportunity for children to develop independent interests, such as reading and trying out new hobbies.
  • Over time families often develop a rhythm to summers that can last year after year, some becoming deeply valued memories and “family traditions.”

 Interested in learning more?  Here are some summer solutions we thought were very creative  …

– Grandparents and extended family can play a great role in summers. Children can spend one or two weeks with them (and sometimes with other cousins as well). This can provide a great opportunity for the two generations to get to know each other better.

– Remote work can be a great summer solution when caring for teens. It can also be a great way to stretch out limited vacation time. One family did this by trading off who was working (in the mornings or in the afternoons) while the other parent played with the children at the beach. This way they were able to turn one week of vacation time into a two-week beach vacation.

– A partner in an accounting firm negotiated a “flex year” schedule – working a total of 20 hours during June and July. This gave her maximum time with her school-aged children. Then when she worked long days during her “busy season” – January through April – her husband became the primary parent in charge.

– ThirdPath has also met families where one parent intentionally became a school teacher as a way to have more flexibility throughout the summers. In one of these families, the other parent negotiated an alternative summer schedule so she could take Fridays off each week.

Don’t forget our summertime tip: Write up your “summertime” notes – what went well this summer, what would you do differently? Then pull these out in January when you start planning for next summer!

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