Organization the key to summer planning success!

Yesterday, as I was picking my son up from the Arts Centre where he does his guitar lessons, I saw they were putting up their poster for summer camp. “At least we are organized this year!” the man smiled at me. “Last year, we didn’t get the notice up for our camp until two days before!”

TWO DAYS BEFORE? I couldn’t believe it! Who can wait until two days before to put their child(ren) in camp? I know I had to carefully have my summer mapped out back in March. I probably started thinking about summer camps on January 1st! Ok, I know I am extreme. But seriously, filling your child’s summer with stimulating fun isn’t the easiest task. The deadlines and demand for summer programs make it even harder. And of course the children, who have their own ideas about what they want to do, make it more difficult yet.

The key to a happy summer for parents and children alike does come down to organization. Options need to be scoped out. Budgets need to be assessed. Time frames need to be worked out.
A couple of years ago, I had my sons in a different camp every week of the summer. I thought I was doing them a favour. This gave them a chance to make new friends, a chance for them to participate in their various interests with camps specializing in science, sports, arts, environment, and so on. When I started talking about camp this year, my older son said, “Mom, please, not so many camps this year. I don’t want to miss out on the activities or leave the friends I make.” And really, it was a relief to have them agree. As much as I thought it was more fun for them, it was NOT fun for me, having to adjust to a new routine every week, as well as a new schedule. It required an excel spreadsheet, and a weekly reminder for my husband to keep track of where and when to be that week. There was also a camp they really wanted to go to, but it’s the least appealing for my husband and I, due to its short hours. They have also expressed an interest in tennis last summer, after it was too late to get them in a program for it. This year I was prepared.

It was time for compromise, and one that worked well. For most of the summer, they get to attend one camp – a general activity camp. There they can participate in the weekly shift of programming themes, stick with friends made, and as a bonus to us parents, it offers extended hours. They will also have a week of their favourite camp, and a week of tennis. In the end, enough variety to keep the summer from dragging, plus it incorporates some of their special interests, and is an easy schedule for my husband and I to follow. Everyone is happy, and has been since March! I still laugh, when I think of my husband saying to me, after I said we needed to talk about camps sometime the first week of March, “Oh yeah, March Break is coming isn’t it?” March Break? That I had planned for back in early December!

Guest Blogger - Kristine Quan, Kristine is a busy and organized mother of two boys who
writes a blog for "Our Kids" Web Site on parenting

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