If You Typically Have a Full Summer of Activities, Here Are Tips to Prevent Overscheduling

Parents, it’s time to simplify.

By: Amanda Mushro
Father and two children (6-11) unloading beach accessories from car


Father and two children (6-11) unloading beach accessories from car

Photo by: moodboard


If the lazy days of summer never happen in your home, and your summer schedule is already filling up – it’s time to take back summer. While camps, sports, barbecues, and vacations are some of the best parts of summer, it doesn't take long for your days and nights to fill up, and you’re left feeling like the next few months slip by without having a second to relax.

Before another busy summer season takes over, here are seven ways to not overschedule your family’s summer.

Schedule Unscheduled Time in Your Calendar
We all love the calendar on our phones, but to really take control of your summer schedule, print out a calendar for each month. Start by filling in the dates of big events and vacations. Then block off at least one or two weekends of each month and a few nights. If your schedule allows, do the same for weekdays.

These scheduled unscheduled days are the start of taking back your summer! Only say yes to events, parties, and outings that you and your family really wants to attend. Otherwise, politely decline because you can fill the unscheduled times with the summer activities you never seem to have enough time to do.

Make sure you share this calendar with your partner or any other family members who add activities to your family’s calendar.

Talk About Past Summer Plans
Ask your family what parts of summer they loved last year and what parts they did not love. Listen to their answers and think about your own answers. This will help you prioritize what you will and what you will not put on your summer schedule this year.

Know the Signs of Burnout
If your kids are cranky, overtired, and fighting you on everything – it may be they are feeling overscheduled and they need a break. When that happens, clear your summer calendar and let your kids relax and enjoy some of the simple parts of summer.

Be OK with Saying No
It can be hard to turn down invitations from friends and family, but if you are always saying yes to every invite, your summer schedule will be completely full before the season really starts.

If an invitation comes along that will overwhelm your schedule, say no. Of course this can be easier said than done. However, try saying "Let me check our calendar" or "I'll have to get back to you." This way you can have a little time to answer instead of feeling like you should say yes right away and then regretting the yes later.

Lighten Your Kids' Summer Schedule
Summer camps and sports are always so much fun, but if your kids have a completely full summer schedule, there’s no room for unscheduled adventures or relaxing. If you’re able to be flexible with their schedule, try leaving a week or two without scheduled activities, sports, or camps, or try a half-day option.

If summer camp doubles as childcare, this might not be possible, but if you can lighten their summer schedule, the whole family can take advantage of that time.

Let Your Kids Get Bored
No parent wants to hear the words "I’m bored!" from their kids, but not having every minute of their day planned will let kids get creative. From playing outside, finding friends to hang with, or rediscovering some of the toys they haven't played with in a while, a little summer boredom can kickstart kids' creativity and find new ways to have fun.

Say Yes to Last Minute Adventures
Traveling with kids takes plenty of planning, but if a last-minute adventure presents itself – a day outing with friends or an unplanned road trip – say yes. Pack only what you need and take advantage of the summer fun.


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