1. Establish a routine
We use a visual schedule to communicate the following: eat breakfast, dress, chores, outside play, homeschool, free play, lunch, pool or playground, reading, dinner, chores, bath, reading, bed.
2. Break the routine on the weekend
We are trying to do something new and out of the ordinary on the weekends. Day trips are the most economical for us. Pack food to cut down on costs and look for low cost or free activities. This summer we will go tubing, lake swimming, fruit picking and panning for gold all very affordable.
3. Use summer as an opportunity to add on another chore so there is lots of time to get the hang of the new responsibility. Our boys are now responsible for putting away all their clean clothes on hangers.
4. A membership to a pool is a lifesaver in the hot weather and it's an instant play date for the kids and moms. Thankfully our community has a pool and the pass is fairly priced.
5. If you can afford summer camp spread them out, you don't need a camp the first or last week of vacation. A friend of mine alerted me to a camp at her church for my 8 year old that is music and drama for only $20 for five half days.
6. Swapping childcare with friends if you are up to it or hiring a mother's helper once in a while can help to relieve some stress without the full cost of a sitter.
7. Go easy on the meals. Keep it simple, use paper plates, eat outside you get the idea...
8. Try not to get sucked into playing referee -- this can really ruin your day. I like Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Farber for lots of great advice on dealing with kid's fighting.
9. Keep the bedtimes the same as during the school year.
10. Try to take lots of pictures and enjoy this special time together.
Bonus tip: Stock up on craft items and visit the library every week for new books.
Wishing you a fun summer -- Kara