Source: Flickr, Ken Teegardin

Source: Flickr, Ken Teegardin

Summer is often a tricky time for parents. Children are out of school and bored, the planned activities list is all done, and the budget is too tight for summer camps and vacations. Every year we post blogs throughout the summer with fun (and inexpensive!) ideas for you and your children to do during the long summer months. We will keep posting more of those, so be sure to check back regularly. But what about newly adoptive parents? Their summers are even more stressful and taxed because there is a new family member, new routines, and lots of change. We have several ideas for adoptive parents facing their first summer as an expanded family.


Perhaps this is an obvious one, but staycations are nothing to dismiss. They can be a lot of fun and a great way for families to bond. Travel is inherently stressful because schedules are different, sleep changes, and there are usually more sugary treats keeping energy levels high. So consider planning a fun staycation. Home is nearby if there is a meltdown, plus routines can still be established during the vacation. Staycations are especially great for parents of a toddler. From children’s museums and pools to popsicles in the park, there is lots to do in every city. Folding fun activities in with the family’s regular routine will help ease tension and make summer more enjoyable.

Visit Family

If the grandparents or aunts and uncles live in the same state, or at least close by, ask about taking a trip to visit them. This allows for other family members to relieve you, the adoptive parents, from time to time and get to know your expanded family. Plus, it’s often easier on budgets since hotel stay isn’t needed. If your family is needing routine and comfort, visiting good friends and family is a great way to have a vacation with stability. Look for amusement park adventures, lakes or pools, and parks to get lots of energy out during the day so home time is relaxed and quiet.

Try Short Trips

If your newly-expanded family wants to get out of town, try taking short trips. Plan for just one or two nights away in a hotel in a nearby city. Close enough that if things get really stressful, you can easily get back to the comforts of home. Short trips also allow for kids to bring all of the toys and blankets that make them feel safe (no luggage restrictions!). Pick a hotel that is kid-friendly and has a pool or visit a nearby town with a carnival or amusement park. Homes or hotels near lakes and rivers also make a great choice, plus you can grab a picnic table at a nearby park and enjoy an outdoor barbeque with games.

You can still vacation even if the shape of your family is changing by leaps and bounds and many newly adoptive parents have found vacations to be a great way to bond, especially if they have adopted an older child. Be open and talk about comfort levels and as long as you plan something that meets the family’s needs, you are sure to have lots of fun and make great memories.