For kids, the end of the school year means freedom and fun. On the other hand, parents start to think, “What am I going to do with my kids all summer?”

Here are six tips to make the school-to-summer transition a breeze, and to help everyone have a fun-filled and stress-free summer break.

1. Establish drop stations. Your kids are trading backpacks for pool bags. To prevent yourself from being overrun with all of the items that come along with summer, create drop stations for your kids, so they know exactly where to put their belongings when they come in the house.

2. Keep bedtime and rising times consistent. Bedtime may be later than during the school year but stick with a regular sleep schedule. A consistent sleep schedule helps your children’s mood, health, and ability to learn. It will also help ease the transition back to school in the fall.

3. Limit screen time and promote reading time. If you set a screen limit during the school year, keep that same limit for the summer. Parents of kids 2 years old and older should limit screen use to no more than 1 hour or less per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Additionally, remember that kids tend to regress in the summer — teachers call it the “summer slip.” It’s to be expected. However, if your child reads just 15 minutes per day, you can prevent your child from losing months of academic growth. Your students’ teachers will thank you in August!

4. Create a family summer bucket list. We all know that feeling when August rolls around again and we feel a bit of regret and guilt. Did we do enough this summer? Sit down as a family and create a summer bucket list. A few ideas might include visiting Fontenelle Forest, going to the zoo, watching an Omaha Storm Chasers baseball game and setting up an outdoor movie in the backyard. Create your own list and have fun!

5. Create an "I’m bored" list. “But Mom, I’m bored!” We said it as kids, and now it’s our turn to hear it. Together, create a list of things your kids can do independently. When you hear those infamous words you can direct them to the list of ideas they came up with.

6. Create chore charts. Keep a chore list visible and make sure you’ve communicated your expectations. Remember, any of these chores can be paid chores too. Below are some chores based on specific age groups.

Two to 3 years old:

  • Pick up toys and books
  • Put dirty laundry in a hamper
  • Set their place setting (plate, cup, silverware)
  • Clear their dishes
  • Fold rags and dishcloths
  • Water plants

Four to 6 years old (all previous chores plus):

  • Help load dishwasher
  • Set and clear table
  • Match socks
  • Make bed
  • Take care of pets
  • Help bring in and put away groceries

Seven to 11 years old (all previous chores plus):

  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Sweep and dust
  • Take out the trash
  • Help with meal preparations
  • Clean room
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Help with yard work and gardening

Twelve years old and older (all previous chores plus):

  • Do complete loads of laundry
  • Mow the lawn
  • Prepare simple meals
  • Clean bathroom
  • Wash car
  • Vacuum
  • Bring in and sort the mail

Implement these six easy tips to help ease the transition at the end of May and make sure everyone in the family has a fun, stress-free summer!

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Joanna Thompson is a professional organizer and former educator and lives in Omaha with her husband and 80-pound fur babe. She writes monthly for momaha.com and can be found on Instagram at joanna_organize and online.

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