Summer generally requires a lot of planning for parents whether they are at home or out working in the world. For many families, so many leisure and social commitments fall into place during the summer that a daily planner becomes more vital than ever to juggle everyone’s packed schedules. This summer, traditional over-planning will give way to an entirely new issue – creating a memorable and fulfilling summer for your family while still exercising safety.

The creativity that will be necessary to manage it all (or the lack of “it all”) is already beyond humbling. That said, as we talk to parents across the nation, it’s becoming clear that the idea of virtual camps is not sitting well. It seems our kids may be over screen time, believe it or not. So, herein lies the question: How do we remain employed and keep our children both safe and entertained?

After weighing our values and listening to scientists and experts, we have put together a list of ideas that, with proper safety protocols and logistics, may simplify, alleviate and even brighten the challenges we inevitably face this summer.

Kid Swap

While we certainly do not advocate haphazard playdates, teaming up with another working parent who shares the same philosophy regarding safety can be incredibly helpful in managing childcare. Take turns bringing children for nature outings or coordinating special activities or games so each household can remain active while forming windows of time for each parent to fully focus on work and life responsibilities.

For ideas on how to explore during this unprecedented time, we welcome you to check out Ten Tips for Hiking Safely During COVID-19.

Nanny share

In the absence of camp this summer, there will be a lot of free time to fill. For many parents, camp hours are generally crucial in keeping the kids supervised and productive throughout the summer. For working parents especially, options are limited, but a nanny share is a great potential tool.

Hiring a nanny full or part-time and splitting the cost with another family that shares your level of commitment to physical distancing protocols will make childcare more affordable. Of course, you must carefully vet your potential caregiver to ensure they maintain similar precautions in their own lives. That said, if you find the right person, this could be an ideal course of action for many families, while also providing much needed social time for your little ones.

Welcome an Au Pair

Several members of our team have benefitted from bringing an Au Pair into our families through Cultural Care Au Pair and enjoyed truly wonderful experiences. There are careful COVID-19 protocols available to be sure your experience is a safe and positive one, and for families with more than one child, bringing an Au Pair into your home is actually less expensive than daycare.

Cultural Care places their Au Pairs with meticulous attention to the best interests of both the caregiver and their host families. With working from home, most camps canceled and the new normal of this period of physical distancing, Au Pairs can potentially provide a practical solution to a very unusual set of problems, now more than ever.

Check out two recent blogs on the subject in The Benefits of Welcoming an Au Pair Into Your Family and Strengthening Bonds and Gratitude During COVID-19.

RV Summer

Many parents will continue working remotely through the summer since a lot of companies are expected to encourage telework. With proper planning to secure wireless at campsites and in transit, working remotely during RV travel is a viable option. This type of travel is a safer alternative to the typical vacation, as you begin and end your journey in the company of the same people, and bring your home away from home along with you.

Follow our blog as we continue to pursue RV travel research and suggestions – we’ve always loved camping and since we now believe it is the wave of the near future, we are so excited to share our experiences with you. Take a look at Make Nature Your Focus in Harpers Ferry and Why the Mojave National Preserve is Our Favorite Park to help bring out your adventurous side.

Build a Bubble

Consider creating a family or friend bubble. If you have loved ones that live in an area you enjoy visiting, and working from home for part of the summer is an option for both families, discuss distancing in tandem. As always, establishing a plan for respecting safety protocols outside of your shared network is critical before coming together. Once that is resolved, spend a period of time in each home as a group, with some time in your own homes to break up all that “togetherness” for the sake of sanity.

Make plans to visit National or State Parks or take hiking day trips in both regions with the help of the happyly app activities and curated plans. This will be a fun and memorable bonding experience for everyone and ensure that the “Summer of COVID-19” is one to remember. Additionally, you will have the option of rotating childcare so everyone can secure uninterrupted work time.

Tip: If you or someone you know owns an RV, and each house has a suitable driveway, a camper can provide some added privacy and even an office space away from the noise of the expanded household.

An alternate bubble can work with select friends or family in your area. The con to this version is missing the opportunity to explore a new area, but the pro is that it doesn’t require shared living quarters! If you opt for the local version, you can simply bring together an agreeable set of friends to invoke any or all of the above ideas…kid swap, nanny share, group RV Travel, and exploring nature in your area together.

Providing a social network for your children, while having guilt-free adult time for yourselves, will lay out a clear path to a positive summer of laughter and adventure, with even more ideas for fun then you would have with just your immediate family. It’s a great way to spin a challenging, anxious time into one packed with wonderful memories!!

This summer will certainly be different from any before, but we plan to respond to the challenge in the way we always do – by deliberately seeking out the silver lining. We’ll be doing it with a glass of proverbial lemonade in hand (in this case perhaps it should be spiked lemonade), so cheers to a memorable summer, friends!

Interested in hosting an au pair? We had an incredible experience with Cultural Care Au Pair!! Feel free to reach out to us with questions about our Au Pair journey at [email protected].

We welcome you to check out our blog for more inspiration from Basic Tips for Buiding a Family Garden, join as we Prioritize Practical Skills, or check out our helpful suggestions for Nurturing Your Partnership in light of social distancing.

As always, we welcome your family’s highlights! Tag us on Instagram @gethappyly!