The key to managing all the end-of-year activities is to be organized and make sure all events are on the family calendar.

Minimize the stress

One parent had this sage advice: “In general, school will wind down by itself. Realizing you aren’t ready for summer is what is stressful. To avoid that we do several things:

1. As our school-age daughter attends private school, her friends are not in the neighborhood. Making sure we have current contact information and some time in the summer schedule to include activities with them is critical. This ranges from meeting to play to sleepovers to going to a camp the same week as the friend.

2. We determine our summer schedule in advance and in detail. This allows both parents to request the days/weeks off needed to make the summer fun and peaceful, we get a good choice of camps to choose from for our older daughter (younger daughter is in day care, so her schedule doesn’t change much), and can take advantage of early camp registration discounts, travel promotions, etc.

3. Schedule a few days off when the kids are not home all day. I schedule at least one home-project-block of two to three days and one pamper-me-half-day each month of summer. This allows me to feel like I accomplished something and to recharge my batteries!”

Get it on the calendar

When you have all the dates for activities, vacations and special plans in one place, your summer will be stress-free, according to this parent: “The only way I keep from stressing with our summer is to write down all of our plans on a calendar so that we will know exactly what we have planned on that date… We plan our vacations in advance. The place, the time and the days.”

Stash a few dollars in the cookie jar

The end-of-year activities can get expensive, what with gifts for the teacher and special events. Here’s a wise tip from a budget-conscious mom: “I have been a single mom for 14 years. I have a seventh grader and a 10th grader. I have always found it tough towards the end of the year with yearbooks, field trips, parties, etc. What I try to do now is put $5 a week away (starting the first week of school) in a cookie jar. Towards the end of the year you have pretty much built up what you need to cover these expenses. My son will be graduating in two years and I have already started by putting $10 a week away so at least a good portion of the expenses will be covered at that time.”