That’s supposed to be a good thing, right? But even thinking about candy canes and mistletoe when the temperature is sweltering seems odd. So does planning for summer camp in January, when the school year is barely halfway finished.
Nonetheless, signing up for camp and summer sports and programs in January and February offers kids (and their parents) the most diverse. Many popular camps fill quickly, and returning campers and their siblings often get priority enrollment. If you don’t want your kids couch surfing all summer, start planning now.
Here are some suggestions for getting your kids’ summer schedule organized:
— Collect all appealing brochures and summer information in central location. I recommend gathering them in a folder labeled “summer plans 2011.” (This includes sports camps, summer tutoring programs [if your kids might need this], enrichment classes, sleep-away camps, day camps, activities, etc.)
— Photocopy the June, July and August pages of a month-by-month calendar. This will be your planning guide.
— Write in the last day of school for the 2010-2011 school year and the first day for the 2011-2012 year and any summer family vacations or obligations such as weddings, reunions, etc.
— If you have a budget for summer activities, note it in the margin.
— Identify the weeks you want/need the kids in camp or other summer programs.
— If kids are old enough, ask them to select their favorite camp and/or sessions. Tally the cost to make sure it’s within your budget. If so, mark the dates in pencil on your calendar pages. If not, look for more affordable alternatives. (If you’re choosing camps for preschoolers or young children, choose the programs that are best for your needs.)
— Now match summer program offerings up with the weeks you need to fill. You can pencil in more than one camp and then ask your kids to select the one they want to attend.
— Commit yourself to applying to at least one camp before this week ends. I’d love to hear about your successes (and challenges).
— When you receive confirmation of acceptance, write those programs in pen on your planning calendar and enter them into your digital planner, kids’ schedules and partner’s calendar.
— Don’t over-schedule. Kids need some time to relax, goof off and savor the sensation of having an endless amount of time to do anything … or nothing. That’s what summer’s all about, too.