School is out in less than a month, which means vacations, summer camps and kids underfoot 24/7. Yikes! Here are some things you can do NOW to get ready for summer:
1. Sign up for summer camp, swim lessons and other summer activities. This is at the top of the list, because it has to be done immediately as spots for these popular events fill up quickly. Here is a link to most of the summer camps offered in the Metro area and swim lessons through Portland Parks and Rec.
2. Get your child care arrangements worked out. Arrange that nanny-share, figure out your babysitter’s summer schedule or sign the kiddos up for all day summer programs.
3. Line up pet-sitting and house-sitting for any extended vacations you are taking this summer.
4. While you are thinking about your vacations, go ahead and make a list of what you need to pack for those vacations. Circle whatever you need to buy and buy it now, rather than waiting until the last few hectic days before you leave.
5. Take stock of your children’s summer wardrobe and see if a shopping trip for new shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, sundresses, swimsuits, sun hats and sandals is in order. Now is a good time to hit up your local consignment stores for those items before the stores sell out.
6. How is your camping gear looking? Is it time to replace anything? Best do it now rather than ending up in the middle of forest 50 miles from town and discovering your camp stove doesn’t work (I’m speaking from experience here …)
7. Buy new sunscreen for the family. Sunscreen needs to be replaced each summer, because its effectiveness decreases after a year. While you are at it, check to make sure everyone in your family has sunglasses (little kids may have outgrown last year’s sunglasses).
8. Also buy new bug spray, if you will be taking trips where the bugs like to bite. Take inventory of your home first aid kit and car first aid kit as well. Restock things like bandages, pain killers, and allergy tablets. If anyone in the family is allergic to bee stings, make sure you have plenty of EpiPens in those first-aid kits.
9. Reprogram your thermostat for the warmer weather.
10. Make sure you have enough fans and/or your AC unit works. Once hot weather hits, you can bet the stores will be out of fans and air conditioners!
11. Lay soaker hoses or rig up a drip line irrigation system to make summer watering easier.
12. Clean out your garage and storage shed, so the family can access their camping equipment, sports gear, beach chairs and gardening supplies. Hey, I know a professional organizer who can help you with that! www.respacedpdx.com
13. Check your Chinook Book (you know, that book you bought as part of a fundraiser for your kids’ school/moms’ club/garden club) to see if you can use any “summery-type” coupons, such as discounts for ice-cream, outdoor stores, bike and kayak rentals or outdoor activities.
14. Sign up for the summer reading program through the Multnomah County Library. My son really looks forward to this every year!
15. Make a list of 10 easy, free or inexpensive activities you can do with your kids for the inevitable, “Mom, I’m bored!” whine. Trust me, you will thank yourself later for this. Now excuse me while I go work on my own list of 10 boredom-free activities …
Image of my son on last year’s camping trip. When you fail to plan ahead, you end up sleeping under a tarp in the back of your pick-up truck …