Summer is just around the corner, and my family and I can’t wait! It’s definitely our favorite time of year for lots of reasons. For the kids, it’s the obvious — no school. The kids love it, because they have more free time to play, read, swim, ride bikes and hang out with friends. I like the fact that I won’t have to pack lunches, wake up so early to get everyone to school on time, and stress about getting all the homework, projects and studying done.

In reality, it doesn’t get any less busy during the summertime. In fact, it often gets even busier with all the vacations, fun activities and work we still try to get done. It’s tough trying to organize our lives so that an otherwise unstructured time of year can also be a productive, healthy and happy time. This summer, I’m going to set some very specific goals so that we feel in control. My overall goal is to look back at the summer and say, “Wow, look at all the good we accomplished,” rather than saying, “What did we do to waste away our summer?”

These are my goals:

1. Have Regular Mealtimes. In summers past, regular mealtimes have been one of the first things to go. We start sleeping in, and before we know it, breakfast becomes lunch, we snack and play all afternoon, and then dinner happens whenever we get around to it. When this happens, we start feeling out of control. The less healthy foods and irregular mealtimes start making Kaitlyn’s numbers go way out of range. This summer I’m determined to stick to a regular mealtime schedule and plan for it accordingly, even if we’re spending the day out and about.

2. Stay Active. This one is usually easy for us during the summertime, because we love being outdoors. We spend pretty much every day out swimming in our pool, riding bikes, running around at the beach, or having fun with friends at the park. We’ll continue to do this and make it a daily priority, so we can stay fit and healthy rather than filling our time with TV and video games. Oh, and one nice side benefit? Staying active helps keep Kaitlyn’s blood sugar from going too high.

3. School Work. Even when there’s no school, I like my kids to have regular activities every day so that they work on reading, writing and math. So, for lack of a better name, they get to do “school work” even during the summer! It gives them some form of structure, which is essential for me to help Kaitlyn stay on top of her blood sugar numbers.

4. Household Chores. With all five kids at home during the summer, it doesn’t take long for the laundry, dishes and toy messes to get out of control. To prevent this from happening, we have chore charts and rotate through household chores so that everyone will have a chance to become good at laundry, dishes, taking out trash, cleaning out the car, etc. When the house stays organized, I feel more in control and can handle all the tasks of caring for a large family AND help Kaitlyn manage her diabetes.

Good luck and best wishes to you and your family for a happy, healthy and productive summer!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

Related topics:
D-Mom: The Summertime Shift
Confessions of a Schedule-ista
A Day at the Beach, Water Park or Theme Park

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