By: Amanda Sabarese

With summer break fast approaching, it is important that parents make some time for themselves. Spending time with the kids is fun and rewarding, but burnout is real, and it can be difficult to adjust to summer break when you are used to your kids being in school 5 days a week. Luckily, we have compiled a list of ways to get little breaks and “me” time between the chaos of summer break without breaking the bank.

  1. Look for the little times when you are alone and take advantage of them.
    When you put your kids in their car seats and shut the door to walk to the driver’s side door, when they go down for their afternoon nap, or when your older kids chill with their electronics (with a time limit, if needed), make sure you take advantage of these small moments to yourself! Feel the sun on your skin, get creative in the kitchen, do some deep breathing and meditation exercises! Try to make the “me” time about taking care of yourself, not checking other things off of your list of things to do.
  2. Hire a sitter for a few hours a week at an affordable cost.
    Try care.com or sittercity.com. These websites can find mommy’s helpers, full-time or part-time sitters, or date night sitters that work with your schedule and budget. Nervous about having a stranger watch your kids? Talk to local moms who might have teenagers looking to make extra money. Many towns have Facebook groups in which you can ask for community member’s recommendations. You can find someone for as low as $10 per hour so you can catch up with a friend or get a pedicure; whatever makes you happy!
  3. Schedule a play date at someone else’s house (and then reciprocate later!).
    Yes, you cannot get around this unless you want to be known as that parent, but it’s worth it! A trade off sort of agreement with another parent is both fun for your kids and relaxing for you, so take advantage!
  4. Take a bath after the kids are asleep.
    Pick 1 (or more!) nights a week for you to reward yourself with relaxation after a busy day. We’re all tempted to use this time to fold laundry or catch up on our list of things to do that didn’t get done during the day, but relaxing at the end of the day has many benefits. You will sleep better, be able to reflect on your day, and be able to come up with more options for tomorrow (because if you’re like me, some of your best thinking is done in the bath!).
  5. Make a plan with your partner to take over so you can be alone.
    Having your partner on board with household duties and watching the kids are key in the summer months. If you are a single parent, you can do the same thing with family. The catch: You have to tolerate that your partner might not do things exactly as you do! Giving up some control so that you have time to rejuvenate is worth it in the long run.
  6. Make a plan with your partner to be alone WITH him or her.
    This important facet of your life can often go overlooked with kids and a household to take care of, so it is up to you and your partner to make time for each other. If you have to schedule alone time, so be it. The loss in spontaneity is better than no time together at all, so get to planning.
  7. Invite family over.
    Did someone say free childcare? Hosting a barbecue to get together with your family not only allows you to see those who you may not have seen in a while, but family will also watch the kids while you host. Everyone will want to spend time with them, and you can focus on hosting and relaxing with family and friends.
  8. Sign the kids up for a camp or community program in your town.
    These programs can be SUPER affordable. Post in your Facebook community forum or call some other parents to see what their kids will be up to this summer. You can even work out a schedule to carpool, leaving even more time for self-care!

The bottom line is that you have to care for you so that you have the wherewithal to care for others, and having kids home for the summer can make this challenging. However, its importance remains the same as during the school year.