COVID19 Parenting

Day 44: Summer Plans (or lack thereof)

April 28, 2020

The school district has informed us that there are “24 instructional days” left in the academic year. That doesn’t sound like very many! And I guess it really isn’t.

what school looks like

The last day of school is June 2. The first day of next year is currently scheduled for August 19. A will be in 3rd grade; C in 1st. G may move up a room at her Montessori school IF she is potty trained (big IF; she is not all that interested and it is not my style to really push this milestone until close to age 3, which isn’t until December).

I wonder what will happen. I think there is a chance that at that point, community case numbers will be so low (hoping!) that the school will open on time and on a regular schedule. But that does not rule out another move to virtual in the fall if the predicted/possible 2nd peak occurs.

ANYWAY. Guess we will have to . . . plan not to plan! To some extent.

I am also thinking about camp. We received a rather weird-sounding notice from the camp the big kids attended last year stating that camp was ON, but would feature:

“-Smaller groups
-Nightly disinfecting and continual cleaning throughout the day
-More hand sanitizing stations
-Two infirmaries to separate sick and injured children
-Temperatures taken daily of all staff and campers 
-All staff wearing masks
-All campers wearing masks upon arrival
-Lunch will be in small groups”

If we did not have another childcare alternative, we would consider it. But Josh felt fairly strongly that under the above conditions, it’s probably better to just skip it. The kids can continue their current activities (outside in the AM followed by some online educational stuff, afternoon video game/screen time) and then we won’t have to worry about infection control issues or whether C is capable of keeping a mask on (unlikely). If possible/safe, we will hire a swim coach to come give Genevieve swim lessons in our pool.

SOOOOO I’m thinking . . . probably no camp this summer. And that’s okay. Our current routines are fine. We will save lots of $$! And maybe it will be a new model for the future in which the kids do camp SOME weeks but not necessarily the whole summer.


We had not even thought about overnight camp yet, though I know some people send their 7 year olds and Annabel is 8. She has no desire to leave home by herself for any extended period yet and we are more than fine with that. Other than some weeklong stints at cheerleading camp in high school (which was actually a lot of fun) and a summer playing violin at PA’s Governor’s School for the Arts (a free program back then; now sadly defunct), I did not go to overnight camp as a child. Josh did go to a fairly traditional overnight summer camp for 1-2 summers and did not like it. So we are not really “camp people.”

Also, not sending kids to overnight camp = a good way of saving about a jillion dollars. If one of the kids eventually asks to go, we would definitely consider it, especially if it’s some kind of specialty camp that addresses their interests – art, a sport, etc. But not going to push it!

IN OTHER NEWS . . . I’m going to attempt to record some pilots eps of my planner podcast today!! I’m thinking short but sweet – 20 minutes each or so. I will eventually be inviting some guests but the initial series will probably just be me blathering into the mic (kind of the style of Lazy Genius, which is a solo podcast I enjoy). Can’t go much longer than 20 min!


  • PlannerCast
  • Planner Perspectives
  • (current front-runner that Josh came up with) –> Best Laid Plans

(Opinions or other ideas welcome!)


  • Reply Tierney April 28, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Planner Mojo or, a play on words, Planner Bujo? Good for SEO, maybe slightly nonsensical sounding?
    Planner Mode

  • Reply Michelle April 28, 2020 at 10:54 am

    How is your nanny feeling about the change in summer plans? I hope she is able to change her plans too if necessary?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 28, 2020 at 11:59 am

      She does not mind – in a way it is less hectic (not doing multiple pickups etc). The routine is working okay as it is now.

    • Reply Danielle April 28, 2020 at 12:15 pm

      If it were personally me, I’d rather care for children who were not spending their days at camp. Even if that meant more work on my part.

  • Reply Elisabeth April 28, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Love, love Best Laid Plans (and pairs nicely with BOBW). Also, so timely with the pivots were all making to our best-laid plans!

  • Reply Liz April 28, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Vote for Best Laid Plans! I am an urban planner (so this is probably a niche opinion), but I think Planner Cast or Planner Perspectives could get confusing with urban planning OR event planners… just a thought. Good luck!!

    • Reply Sarah K April 29, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      I agree about the potential confusion! From another Planning/planning nerd. =)

  • Reply Lisa S April 28, 2020 at 11:47 am

    I suspect our usual (outdoor) day camp will do something similar and I do not have access to other childcare so I am weighing what to do. My daughter loves camp and the whole two parents working from home full time without school is not easy, but I also don’t want to exposure her if the risks are too great. Curious what other parents are deciding so this was helpful. DITTO to Best Laid Plans as a great name and can’t wait to listen! This is a hard time for the planners among us. sigh.

  • Reply Irene April 28, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    If there is camp here, I will probably try to send my 5 year old for at least a few weeks at the end of the summer. I am worried about her lack of socialization and feel nervous about her going straight into full day kindergarten directly from….this (she had been having trouble with this with her previous class before school closed). But I don’t think she will do well wearing a mask so if that’s a requirement it’s probably a no go. I mean, honestly in that age range kids are just not hygienic and will be touching/pulling down the mask no matter what. Sounds like some thing they are doing to cover their asses but probably won’t really play out. Ugh I really hope they don’t try to kids wear a mask in school this fall- I don’t think that will go well

    • Reply Irene April 28, 2020 at 12:19 pm

      Ps – I like best laid plans 😀

  • Reply Amanda E. Perrine April 28, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Love Best Laid Plans! Can’t wait to listen. I wish I had an alternate child arrangement because I’m not feeling camp but not sure what else we can do. If my husband gets to continue working from home we could maybe keep him home and let him play a lot and watch more screens than normal. Ugh.

  • Reply Amanda April 28, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    I went to overnight camp for 4 non-consecutive summers, and I can proudly say I am not a camper.

    Funny anecdote to saving about a jillion dollars on overnight camp. Back in the day, the local orthodontist’s 3 kids always went to camp both sessions (8 weeks) every summer, and he could afford it because the parents of all of his kids’ peers in braces paid for it! I was 2 years older than the middle son, so we had a lot of mutual friends.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 28, 2020 at 1:20 pm

      3 kids x full sessions these days = ~50K (depending on the camp)!!!!! Yep. It’s no joke.

  • Reply Sara B. April 28, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Love Best Laid Plans! I’m such a planner nerd I’d love to listen!
    We will probably skip summer camp also. Of course, I actually had my act together this year and it’s all lined up, but I’ll just have to let that go. In addition to CoVID, I’m worried about how we’ll handle confounding pediatric viral illness – I’m an Emergency doc, and I’d like to minimize the problems that someone having a fever in our house would create, and frankly, all the worry it would cause us. Same thing with seeing many of our friends – I want us all to be able to get together, but we are all in EM and our kids tend to get sick in clusters anyway. I know they’ll need to go back to school eventually, but I’m fine with not being the first out of the gate for this one. I’d rather get closer to vaccines and useful antibody testing and knowing what we’re doing with sick (from anything) kids. (Being home, unplanned, for 14 days, for example, would be NOT ideal.)

  • Reply Connie C April 28, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Best Laid Plans gets my vote!

  • Reply gwinne April 28, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    I’m also thinking about this issue, though I anticipate there will not be summer camp in my area. I’m more inclined to try one-on-one care with a former babysitter if I can get a sense of her social distancing practices. If I had a regular nanny I wouldn’t even consider camp unless really no COVID cases in the area…. just my two cents.

  • Reply Erin R April 28, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    We were just discussing summer camp here too – we had emailed our parks & rec camp, and got the response that they are “still on as of now” but are discussing what to do and will make a decision by 5/11. But what could they possibly do if community beaches, parks, pools, etc are closed and sports aren’t recommended?? We have been surviving with both parents WFH, and I feel like it might be less of a risk to even loosen some restrictions with playing with the smaller group of neighbor kids (we’ve been restricting to street play – bikes/scooters/rollerblades and no one allowed on each other’s slides/climbers/etc) just so they have something to do during the day… there also are 2 14 year olds on my block that could probably use some money to herd the group of neighbor kids… this feels at least like the group I KNOW their level of exposure vs random kids at camp. It’s obviously a huge bummer because my kids LOVE IT but I know if they couldn’t play sports, go to the beach, or field trips, it might just be too much of a disappointment anyway and not worth the several thousands of dollars we spend on it for our 3 kids… Such a tough call though.

  • Reply DONNA April 28, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Best Laid Plans gets my vote too!

  • Reply Grateful Kae April 28, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    I love “Best Laid Plans”! I agree it also sounds really cohesive with BOBW as your other podcast.

    We have zero summer plans made either. Just seems like too much work to even figure out when we don’t actually know what the summer will bring yet. My younger son does have an overnight swim camp registered for since December, but at this point we don’t even know if it will occur- they said if it does, it will likely get pushed back from June to July.

    My boys did overnight traditional summer camp last summer (they were 9 and 10) for the first time and LOVED it. But, it is very expensive and we weren’t planning on sending them again this year. Maybe we will just do a handful of times- every couple/few years or something we will let them go.

  • Reply Lori C April 28, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    The idea of no summer camp has me bummed, honestly for all of us. I want the time away from the kids during the day while I work, and I want them to have the socialization, activities, and time outside. Our childcare situation is makeshift right now- 2 days with inlaws, 2 days with one of their former teachers and family friend here in the home- but weather has been poor so they are cooped up inside with screens way too much. Like another reader, my oldest is supposed to start full day Kindergarten in the fall, we will see how that goes. I hope they can have some form of a relaxing normal summer with beach trips, crafts, outdoor movies, etc. Some of that may just have to come from us I suppose. 🙁

  • Reply Natasha April 28, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Our son (now 16) has attended camp for a month in NC for the past 5 years. He loves it and has made lifelong friends that he keeps in touch with from New Orleans. I’m sad for him that it doesn’t look like camp will happen this year, although I think it’s necessary that it remain closed. My 9 year old has no interest in overnight camp and my 19 year old never did “camp” but she did do academic focused programs like a month at Yale one summer when she was 14. I think it totally depends on the child and the interests.

  • Reply Omdg April 28, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    I love the title “best laid plans.” My only quibble is with the word “laid” (I have the mind of a teenage boy, I am SO sorry), and after I thought it I couldn’t unthink it. As an alternative I propose the far inferior “Plannertopia.” I love that your planner is so meditative and restorative for you. It’s like a goal directed adult coloring book in a way, which if you haven’t tried you really should. Also, very meditative. 🙂

    • Reply Arden April 28, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      My only quibble is with the word “laid” (I have the mind of a teenage boy, I am SO sorry — same!
      I would still use the name though….I’m sure there aren’t many of us out there…

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 28, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      I do actually also like plannertopia. And I had the laid thought too but didn’t care 😂😂

      My planning totally has an adult coloring element!!! I’m sooooo not crafty so it’s the one physical I thing I enjoy doing. It calms me 🙂

  • Reply Jessica April 28, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    Can’t wait for this podcast!! Although I mostly enjoy following along on your planning journey instead of implementing my own! haha

  • Reply Kara April 28, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Love Best Laid Plans!!!!

  • Reply CBS April 29, 2020 at 4:41 am

    Agree on Best Laid Plans, I think it captures the moment and reflects your approach to planning.

    Oof, I’m in total denial that childcare won’t be open by the summer. We’re going to have to come up with an alternative. One of my son’s nursery teachers lives nearby and perhaps she could take my son 2 or 3 days a week.

  • Reply Caitlin April 29, 2020 at 8:12 am

    I also love Best Laid Plans! As a guest idea, I just found Elise Joy (I heard her on the Natalie Creates podcast). Not sure if you’ve heard of her or not but I love her “three things” idea, and she also produces a planner called the “Get to Work book.” She also has her own podcast, so maybe you could be a guest and plug BLP and BOBW.

    For a long time I didn’t realize kids could go to sleepaway camp for the entire summer! I did a two-week stint at Girl Scout camp for several summers in my middle school years, each session focusing on specific activities like crafts and theater, and that was a perfect amount of time for me. In high school I went to week-long field hockey camps and music camps, and those were great, too.

  • Reply Gillian April 29, 2020 at 9:25 am

    In a typical summer in our town, so many kids go to sleepaway camp that if you are over the age of 10 ALL your friends are gone. Both my 12 yo and 9 yo have been to tranditional sleepaway camp in previous summers (my son’s camp is on Lake Winnipesaukee). Their camps have not been cancelled yet and if by some miracle they happen we will be taking them. We all benefit from a little time apart, though we definitely miss one another. My daughter had a zoom sing-along with her camp last week and it was so sweet to see them all singing their favorite songs. she has been in a better mood ever since.

  • Reply Sarah K April 29, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    This isn’t really relevant to today’s post, but I’ve majorly been on the struggle-bus trying to do my job from home AND homeschool my two kids. I kept thinking about you and Laura, and I thought – they have nannies helping them! I have a big job too, and no family nearby to help. It’s ok to get some help in this situation! I texted one of the babysitters we used regularly before all the COVID lockdown started, and voila! I have a nanny now! Thank you again. It’s just so great to hear your perspective.

  • Reply Mary April 30, 2020 at 6:25 am

    Love Best Laid Plans too!

  • Reply Sarah Jane May 1, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    Not for this year, but to consider for the future: Girl Scouts, YMCA, and 4H all tend to have local councils/districts putting on 1-week sessions of resident camp, and they do not require you to be a year-long member to participate (and you don’t feel out of the loop if you’re not a year-round member either). They are also quite a bit less expensive than private camps but fully accredited. They tend to start at age 7 or 8 but in our family we’ve started at 9 or 10. They don’t have the same experience of life-long friends that kids get when they’re gone the whole summer but there’s still a lot of independence and fantastic new-to-them (traditional camp) experiences.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 2, 2020 at 8:34 am

      good idea!!

  • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) May 2, 2020 at 10:19 am

    Josh wins with the best podcast name! And agree – it’s hard to talk for longer than 20 minutes if you don’t have a guest host.

    I toyed for a while on doing an organising queen podcast but abandoned that idea fairly quickly.

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