As much as we love summer, the season brings with it new sources of stress for many parents. Summer will soon be winding down, but you can still your stress levels and enjoy the rest of your summer vacation.

1. Get organized.

  • Revisit the kids' play area. Keep up an organized playroom and you won't regret it. Rooms stay neat when you clearly designate space for art projects, toy storage, and dirty laundry. Use these 8 Great Tips to Organize Kids' Rooms for inspiration.
     
  • Organize your summer "stuff" too. Store flip-flops in a bucket by the back door. Designate a special bin for sunscreen and bug spray. For even greater convenience, keep your trunk pre-packed with summer supplies like towels, folding chairs, and extra swimsuits.

2. Minimize messes.

  • Popsicles are a classic summer favorite, but the sticky, drippy mess they make can be a parent's worst nightmare. The trick? Stick the popsicle stick through a foil cupcake liner to catch the drips.
     
  • Invest in a pack of inexpensive shower curtain liners, which can be used to cover floors and tables when messy art and craft projects (think paint and play-doh) are underway.

3. Be prepared.

  • Jot down all the places you hope to visit and activities you want to do over summer vacation, then create a summer vision board on Pinterest or drop your ideas in a Summer Activity Jar so they aren't forgotten.
     
  • Create Quiet Time Bins filled with activities kids can complete on their own when you aren't available to entertain them.
     
  • Insist on summer safety by requiring your children to wear helmets that fit properly, and always follow water safety guidelines. Proper precautions equal less stress for parents.

4. Simplify.

Between camps and vacations and work and family obligations, it's easy to overschedule your summer. but for less stress, you need to simplify.

  • Sign the kids up for one summer camp instead of two, or plan a lazy, low-key getaway over an exhausting vacation spent touring the sights.
     
  • Allow for plenty of unstructured time. According to Dr. Laura Markham, boredom is actually good for kids because it forces them to develop creativity. And it's good for parents, because it takes the pressure off of us to plan their entire vacation.

How do you prepare for summer vacation? Do you find it stressful?