Life is different when the kids are home from school. Those summer months are an awesome time for the family, but they can also be expensive. The cost of food alone can throw your budget out of whack. And that’s not even considering the upcoming school supplies you are going to have to buy soon. Don’t fret, though! We’ve got some awesome tips and tricks for making it a great summer for your kids without breaking the bank. We’ll give you a few ways to save on those food supplies too.
#1 – Give Your Kids Your Time; It’s Free!
If you’ve got smaller kids, they want one thing more than anything else; that’s you! Giving your kids your undivided attention and fully focusing on them is the best way to make it a great summer for your kids, and it’s free! Here are some great ways to give your kids your time:
Put down your phone: In today’s digital world, it’s too easy to get stuck looking at our screens. Sure, we may be physically present with our kids, but if we are focusing on our phones, we aren’t fully there. By simply putting down your phone, you may immediately notice a change in the happiness and behavior of your child. So go ahead and leave your screen in the other room.
Schedule Quality Time: Set aside specific blocks of time each summer day that are solely dedicated to spending quality time with your children. During this time, eliminate distractions like phones or work and focus solely on engaging with your kids. Play games, read together, or simply have meaningful conversations. This undivided attention will make them feel valued and loved.
Active Listening: Practice active listening when your children are talking to you. Maintain eye contact, nod, and respond attentively to show that you are fully present and interested in what they have to say. Avoid interrupting or multitasking during these conversations, as it can make them feel unimportant or unheard.
Engage in Their Interests: Take the time to learn about your children’s hobbies and interests and actively participate in them. Whether it’s playing a sport, painting, or playing video games, show genuine interest and involvement. By joining them in their activities, you not only give them your attention but also strengthen your bond through shared experiences.
#2 – Save on Summer Meals
During the school year, most schools serve breakfast and lunch, but in the summer, that’s on you, the parent. To make it a great summer, you want your kids to eat nutritious and tasty meals but don’t want to break the bank. So here are some great ways to save on summer meals for your kids:
Plan Meals and Make a Grocery List: Take some time each week to plan out meals for the upcoming days. This will help you avoid impulsive grocery shopping and ensure you have the necessary ingredients on hand. Make a grocery list based on your meal plan and stick to it while shopping to avoid unnecessary purchases. If your kids love grocery store trips, make an adventure out of it and ask them to remember certain items on the list. If they aren’t the shopping kind, then place your order online and pick it up.
Cook in Bulk and Freeze: Prepare large batches of meals and snacks that can be frozen and used throughout the week. This reduces the need for expensive pre-packaged convenience foods. Consider making big pots of soups, stews, or casseroles that can be portioned and frozen for quick and easy meals.
Embrace Seasonal and Local Produce: Take advantage of the summer season by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your children’s meals. Visit local farmer’s markets or look for deals at grocery stores to find fresh, affordable produce. You can also involve your kids in the process by taking them to pick their own fruits at local orchards or farms.
Pack Snacks: Instead of relying on costly pre-packaged snacks, opt for homemade options. Cut up fresh fruits and vegetables, make your own granola bars, or bake cookies together. Pack these snacks in reusable containers and bring them along for outings or picnics, saving money on expensive convenience snacks while enjoying quality time outdoors. Homemade popsicles are also an awesome summer hack.
Involve Kids in Meal Preparation: Engage your children in the kitchen by involving them in meal preparation. Not only does this foster their interest in food and cooking, but it also saves you time and money. They can help with simple tasks like washing produce, mixing ingredients, or setting the table, making them feel more connected to the meal, and is a great way for you to give them more of your time.
#3 – Make Each Day an Adventure
Most kids get bored easily, and hanging around the house all day during the summer is no fun. To make it a great summer for your kids, make each day an adventure. Plan an outing for each weekday. For example, Tuesday can be library day, while Fridays are reserved for hiking the local park trail. This will give your kids something to look forward to and will save you from spending impulsively on unplanned adventures. Here are some awesome summer adventure ideas that won’t break the bank:
Local Parks: Explore nearby parks that offer playgrounds, walking trails, and open spaces for picnics and games. It’s a great way for kids to burn off energy and enjoy the outdoors.
Library Visits: Take your children to the local library, where they can participate in storytelling sessions, borrow books, and engage in various educational activities or summer reading programs.
Nature Walks: Go on nature walks or hikes in nearby forests, nature reserves, or even urban parks with designated trails. Encourage your kids to observe plants, insects, and birds along the way.
Beach Trips: If you live near a beach, spend a day enjoying the sun, sand, and waves. Pack a picnic, build sandcastles, and go for a swim. If you don’t live near the ocean or a big lake, you can hang out on the river or at the nearest pond.
Visit Local Museums: Many museums have free admission days or special programs for children during the summer. Check out the art, science, history, or children’s museums in your area for educational and interactive experiences.
Bike Rides: Take your kids on bike rides around your neighborhood or explore local bike paths and trails. It’s a fun and healthy way to discover new areas and enjoy the outdoors.
Gardening: You don’t have to leave your yard to have an adventurous outing. Getting your kids involved in gardening is a fantastic way to make for a great summer. Let them choose an easy vegetable to grow, help mow the lawn, water flowers, or do any kind of lawn and garden work.
Making it a great summer for your kids without breaking the bank is not only feasible but also rewarding. By giving your kids your undivided attention, saving on meals by cooking at home, and going on daily outings to nearby parks or museums, you can create lasting memories and provide enriching experiences for your children. With a little planning and creativity, you can ensure that this summer is truly special for your kids without putting a strain on your budget.