Having more than one child makes everything busier. As the kids get older there is homework, sports, music lessons, play-dates, birthday parties, field trips, parent teacher conferences… times 3 for me! I have been trying to find time to have special time with each child. I am working on finding something that each one of my kids and I can do together that we both find enjoyable. #2 and #3 are still on the younger side – so our special time is more like going for ice cream, reading a book, going for a walk. #1 and I have found that we love to paint pottery together. Today the stars aligned and we had a couple of hours for just the two of us. We spent a really wonderful hour at the pottery place. We thoughtfully picked out our pieces to paint, we concentrated on the primer, we consulted on our color choices, and gave constructive feedback on the finishing touches. I loved spending an hour where I wasn’t nagging him to do his homework or to take a shower. I loved that he wasn’t begging for a snack or for some iPad time. I hope these are the times that our relationship deepens and grows. I hope he remembers these times when he is a moody teenager.
By the end of the school year, the kids are worn out and tired from homework, presentations, spots, music lessons and all the running around that goes with it. The secret is – so are the parents! I was so tired of the homework packets, swim lessons, and packing lunches. I had two whole days to relax until the kids are at camp. Every year I have to remind myself that while the kids are at camp for their summer vacation – I am not really on vacation! There is a ton of shopping, organizing, planning, laundry and lunch making that needs to be done for the kids to have their carefree days of summer! Here is my list and tips to keep the organizing and preparation of going to day camp under control.
- Read all material provided by the camp. Each camp will have their own supplies needed. See what you have and make a list of what you need to buy.
- Don’t buy expensive stuff! Camp (if it is done right) is dirty, buggy and sandy. A lunchbox, backpack, swimsuit or towel – only needs to make it through 4-8 weeks of summer, not a whole school year. My favorite is the 5 Below Store. I bought each of my kids a backpack for $5 and two thin towels for $5. I actually like the thin towels better. They take up less space in their backpack, but still dries them just the same.
- Label everything! I have three favorite tools in my label arsenal. A black sharpie marker, a silver sharpie marker and personalized sticker labels from Mabel Labels. The stickers work great on water bottles, and labels on clothes or towels. When there are no labels I use either a black or silver sharpie depending on the color of the clothing.
- Sort, sort, sort. The night before camp, I have as much packed in each backpack as I can. I have their suntan lotion labeled and pack in the front pocket. In the main pocket I put extra change of clothes labeled in gallon ziplock bags, extra shoes (new sandals can give blisters) and socks, and their towel. In the morning I will just have to add their lunch box and we are off to camp!