I wish I was that mom who laid everything out the night before, woke up with boundless energy to tackle the daily logistics involved in family life, and cooked incredibly healthy, organic, balanced meals each evening. Ha. If I am lucky, my son completes his homework in the car on the way to school, my daughter is wearing something in which she can go to the bathroom by herself (she prefers lavish layers of ballgown tulle for preschool…sorry teachers), and the leftovers in the fridge pass the sniff test before I serve them. I have made a commitment to plan ahead more often so I can alleviate a teeny bit of the anxiety that comes with being command central for my troupe. Although snow is still on the ground, here are 5 things I am doing now to prepare for summer!
I went through my 5-year-old’s summer dresses the other day and 90% of them barely covered her butt. You KNOW once the weather turns sunny (which could be tomorrow for all I know) she will want to ditch the pants and put on the dresses. I created a little fashion show for her, complete with music, makeup and hair styling, to get her to try on all of last year’s clothing. Then, I made a list of everything she needs and I monitor the standard sites (Old Navy, Target) for sales over the next couple of weeks so I can stock up on the basics in order to prepare for summer.
Sunscreen Stock Up
Your children, if they are anything like mine, haven’t seen the sun in about 6 months. Their pasty, pale skin is definitely prone to burning. I usually stock up on sun protection too late, grabbing bottles of expired lotion or sand-caked sunscreen sticks to slather on their faces. This year I am ready for that first day of sun, the one that usually makes me feel horribly guilty when my kids come in from the outdoors with burnt cheeks. After doing research for a Chicago Parent article I wrote, I am trying to pick healthier sunscreens this year to prepare for summer instead of whatever is easiest to apply/on sale. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a list of the top 23 best sunscreens for children, meaning they filtered out sunscreens that contain hazardous ingredients.
Goldfish Swim School recently announced their Goldfish RX program. Since drowning is the number one cause of injury-related death in children age 1-4, they are working with pediatricians to facilitate and promote doctor-parent conversations about the importance of water safety and the value of swim lessons at a young age. Goldfish partnered with Nicole Hughes, founder of Water Guardians: Levi’s Legacy to advocate for change, and the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) updated their recommendations to prevent drowning in children. Nicole and her family tragically lost their son Levi, age 3, during a family vacation. He was watching TV with in a room with 10 adults and multiple children, and somehow slipped outside to the pool unnoticed. Since we live about a mile from a lake, my parents live on a lake, and we have multiple family and friends with pools, I am dedicated to taking my kids to weekly swim lessons until they are confident, competent swimmers. Even if you don’t live or play near water often, vacations are a common place where attentions and children wander.
It is getting perilously late to make reservations for popular places this summer. I booked two nights on Mackinac Island a few weeks ago, and had to scramble to find weeknight rooms that could accommodate our family (this blog captures my love affair with the island). Starved Rock is booked almost every Saturday this summer. VRBO alerted me that within 3 weeks, 1% of properties will be available for the weekend in August I am searching (way to create a sense of urgency!). If you are even thinking of taking a local trip, book it NOW even if you are unsure if you will actually take the trip. Check the cancellation policy, and set a calendar reminder to for the cancel by date. I would rather cancel a dozen reservations than have zero when I want them!
Tune Up the Bikes
The other day, I pulled my car into the garage and felt a “thump.” You know the kind, where you know you ran over something you shouldn’t have. I gingerly opened the car door and saw my 5 year old’s Cinderella-themed bicycle under my tire. She learned to ride at Pedalheads Bike Camp last summer, and is simply obsessed with riding her bike. I knew that I had to replace her wheels fast, but with something that would last all summer. After a ton of (frantic) research, I settled on a Schwinn SmartStart that was around $120. She LOVES it because it has an adorable basket and cute colors. I love it because it has a lightweight frame, seems sturdy, and didn’t cost a fortune. We tuned up my son’s bicycle to get it street ready. If you want someone to come to YOU for a professional tune-up, check out Beeline Bikes. They came to my house last year to assemble a new bike. The easiest and most impactful thing to do for a bicycle is simply inflate the tires to the correct pressure which helps prevent flats and skids. Check the psi on the side of the tires and inflate accordingly.
Cheers to getting ahead of the season, or at least making the effort to prepare for summer!
Disclosure- This post contains affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission if you purchase through my site. It does not affect your price. I am a Goldfish Swim School Ambassador and receive lessons in exchange for posts.