The Exhausted St Louis Mom’s Ultimate Summer Survival Guide


Need some summer survival tips?  We are happy to reshare this summer survival guide that originally ran in June, 2022 with you!


I’m an empty-nester now, but when my kids were all younger and still under my roof, every year I would get so excited when the school year would end.


I dreamed of summertime relaxed schedules, slow, lazy days where we played all day, and hanging out by the pool.


But every year, the “summer honeymoon” wore off way too quickly and reality set in.


Every year, I would forget that summer isn’t easier. Not at all. It’s just the same crazy in a whole different (bathing) suit. It can get overwhelming … fast, and I found that the more prepared I was before it started or RIGHT when it started, the better we all felt at the end of it.


I’d like to share some summer survival tips that helped my 5 kids and I survive it year after year … and I so hope it helps you and your St. Louis crew.



Here are 10 tips for getting through the summer with your kids in St Louis and enjoying it too:



Go to The St. Louis Zoo and Forest Park.


As often as possible and then a few more times … take advantage of all of the amazingness Forest Park has to offer in the zoo, The Muny, the museums, The Science Center, etc… to get you all out of the house, getting some sun and burning off all the energy! Give them a scavenger hunt of things to find at all of your stops to make things more interesting for everyone, even if they’ve been there before. 


the Muny in Forest Park


Keep up with bedtimes.


This one is so hard to do in the summer. It’s too easy to relax our standards when the sun goes down later, and we’re out playing into the evening. But kids still need consistency. And parents still need an evening break.


Bedtime might be a little later than in the school year, but pick a summer bedtime for the kids and stick to it. Of course, it won’t be perfect every night. But try to have the kids go to bed on time more often than not. It’ll also be so much easier to get back into the school groove when the time comes.


Keep up with wake-up times, too.


It’s tempting to let mornings go in the summer. But try your best to start each day around the same time. It does wonders for everyone’s moods and it will help your family get into a good summer groove.


Schedule in regular alone time for everyone.


This one isn’t just for us. It’s for the kids too.


Got whiny, grumpy, bored, or testy kids? Time for some alone time! Seriously, it’s a miracle worker, especially on long, hot afternoons.


Set a timer and have everyone pick a screen-free activity and a different location in the house. Having quiet time for 20 minutes to an hour is the perfect way to reset.


I was also a HUGE fan of starting off every summer with ALL OF US making “TIME OUT” signs for our bedroom doors. The rule was, if the sign was up, you left that person alone for as long as they needed (and yes, it worked for me too- unless it truly was an emergency.) This helps to teach the kids boundaries and respecting each other’s needs.


A piece of paper with a pen laying near it. The paper says, “Time Out"



Take it easy.


I know way too many parents who over-schedule their summers and spend the months stressed and trying to keep up. Sometimes, their summers are even busier than their school years!


Our summers always included a few activities and sports, and with 5 kids, it still added up. But I learned that a jam-packed summer break wasn’t any break at all.


Pick only the activities that are most important to you and your kids, and then leave time for just hanging out. Now that my kids are older, they are so thankful I helped them regulate their time in this way.


Schedule in some memory-makers.


With everyone together every day, it might not seem necessary to intentionally plan for family time. But don’t let the whole summer go by without doing at least one thing your family can remember for the summer.


It can be anything big or small. And to make it even more meaningful, get the kids in on the planning! We had a blast sitting down together and everyone coming up with ideas of what sounded like fun to do together. No idea was off the table, and it was fun to dream and scheme together while listening to everyone’s needs and desires.


Maybe they’d like a trip to The St Louis Aquarium, a new coffee shop, or even some sweet treats at The Fountain on Locust. Is there a new park you can explore or a hike you can take together? How about a Cardinal’s baseball game or even City Museum? Nothing is off limits and you all decide together what makes the final list. 


Happy family having fun time together on picnic


Have time outside every day.


Some summer days are so hot that no one wants to go outside. But even if our kids spend the day doing fun indoor activities, they can get stir-crazy. And we all know how that goes.


So kick them out, even if it’s just for a few minutes or at night. They can play with water, go on a picnic, tend to the family garden, or stay in the shade but let them burn off some energy by playing outside.


Be ready to let things go.


This one’s a little hard for any of our inner control-freaks … but I’ve noticed the more I forced myself to relax in the summer, the more I was able to enjoy the moments. The house gets messier, the kids get dirtier, we all eat more ice cream and popsicles than we should, and not everything goes according to plan. But that’s ok!


Do what you can to keep life organized, but let the rest go. Pick your battles and embrace the summertime craziness.


Yes, summer break survival is possible.


So, are you ready to take on summer? I know it’s a crazy time, but it can also be great with just enough structure to keep things moving forward.


Do you have any summer survival tips to add to this list? Let me know in the comments …