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How to Keep Your Summer Sane

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If summer has turned your regular routine upside down and chaos is settling in, you’re not alone! Summer brings special organizing challenges to family and work life. Parents miss the structure and adult supervision that school provides and must adapt their calendars and resources to prepare for a new schedule.

If families don’t plan ahead for summer break, the household order, schedules, and daily processes can begin to deteriorate. The good news is: even if your summer has begun a bit rocky, you can still experience a fulfilling and organized summer by stepping back and making a few small changes.

If you haven’t already, set aside some time (two to four hours should be sufficient) to create a plan for your summer. Use that time to sign up for any desired activities, consult caregivers, and arrange details. Design a plan that takes into account the big picture, like family trips or scheduled camps, and a weekly plan that keeps each person’s needs in mind.

In the absence of a school schedule, begin implementing a regular schedule at home for your children. Set a reasonable time by which they should be out of bed in the morning and a regular bedtime. Regulating your children’s sleep will bring more harmony to your household!

Your children’s weekly schedule can include time for fun activities with peers and family, helping with household chores, and even work if they are old enough. Since they have more time, this is a great time to work on some age-appropriate life skills, like potty training, organizing their rooms, laundry, cooking, or yard maintenance.

Don’t forget to include intellectual stimulation, like implementing a reading plan or family field trips, along with physical stimulation, like a summer soccer league or camps.

Resist over-extending yourself. Many parents feel they have to entertain and program their children, especially during the summer. Remember, too, that it’s healthy for kids to have an imagination, play in the yard, build forts, and occupy themselves.

Add each child’s schedule to a family calendar. Whether you use an electronic or paper calendar, assign a color to each person to keep track of their activities. This way, you can see where one person might be out of balance or where you have conflicting events. Post the calendar in the kitchen for easy reference.

Add to each activity the following information: location of activity, person responsible for transportation, and contact information.

Getting Help
It is not a sign of weakness to seek help during times of need; it indicates that you are savvy enough to realize that you can’t do it all, and you can’t do it alone. Summer is a great time to enlist the help of grandparents, other family, friends, neighbors, carpools, and even professionals to meet the increased demands on your time. Hiring a professional, like a nanny, a house cleaner, a gardener, or a professional organizer can help you maximize your time and navigate your summer successfully.

Remember, organizing your life will help you put first things first. By taking just a little time to order your family and schedule, you’ll be able to seize the joy of summer!

Adapted from: Restoring Order copyright © 2006 by Vicki Norris (available at Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

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About The Author


Vicki Norris is a professional organizing expert, dynamic entrepreneur, speaker, television personality, and author who helps people live their priorities. Founder and president of Restoring Order®, an organizing services and products company, Norris teaches others how to identify their priorities and create sustainable change in personal organizational habits that support those choices. In her book, Restoring Order™ to Your Home, Norris shows readers how to tackle every space in the home through a room-by-room, step-by-step guide. Using real-life examples, she shows how to creatively