School’s Out: Tips for a Safe & Fun Summer Break

June 30, 2021

Ahhh, summer break. Parents and kids alike rejoice in this laid-back reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the school year. No more waking up extra early for morning drop offs, or half-asleep lunch packing sessions. But with the extra freedom comes the need for re-organizing your family’s schedule while taking everyone’s safety and convenience into consideration. You may find yourself occupied at the office while the kids are home alone or figuring out how to keep track of their summer playdates, sleepovers, camps and sports practices. Here are some tips for managing your kids for safe and fun summer break.

Smart home thermostat module

Find your village

If you’re a working parent, you know it’s tough to make yourself available to shuttle the kids around to their many activities over the summer. Touch base with your fellow parents, neighbors, and family to see who’s up for helping. Coordinate carpools to soccer practice and summer camp and take turns hosting the playdates and sleepovers.

Bonus tip: Set up a shared digital calendar with your parenting team so you never forget whose turn it is to or who will be in charge of your kids for the day.

Guests enjoying mounted outdoor TV

Give them access, without the keys

With smart locks integrated into a home security system like, you can provide your kids with their own special codes to unlock and disarm the house so they can come and go safely – without the risk of losing a set of keys in a park or friend’s house. Plus, this way, you can be immediately notified when they arrive home safely, and when they leave.

kids sliding down home stairs

Plan lots of mini vacations

Do you have a big annual trip that you family takes every summer? We all know the excitement and anticipation of waiting for that long week-long vacation, but what about the rest of the break? Make the most of the kids’ free time by writing out a “bucket list” for the season. Make the most of your weekends by exploring all those local attractions, parks, restaurants and sights that you just never get around to.

outdoor speakers

Keep eyes on them

If you have older kids who like to have the house to themselves over the summer, investing in some smart indoor cameras can help you keep eyes on them to ensure that they are safe (and not throwing any unauthorized parties!) If you’re a stay-at-home parent or work from home, indoor and outdoor cameras are still a great idea so you can watch them play while you work or cook, and catch any slips or falls!

video camera and family playing

Mange your home, remotely

The kids will be coming and going a lot over the summer break, and as they’re rushing out the door to meet their friends, they may not remember all of the instructions you gave them for locking up the house. With the app, you can remotely access your alarm system, smart locks, smart lights, and thermostat via your mobile device, so you can skip the scolding and keep the house secure. This goes for day-to-day home management, but also for those vacations spent away from home!

video camera and family playing

Step up your stay-cation game

Make your home the summer movie night spot by leveling up your entertainment devices. With the help of surround sound , customizable smart lights and a universal smart remote, your kids will be excited to invite their friends over and the family will love the home-theater experience too!

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Lighting is an essential and powerful element of any home’s design. When designed with intention, lighting can not only make your home feel warmer and more welcoming, but it can increase productivity, highlight your favorite areas of your house, and add character. Plus, choosing the right bulbs and fixtures from your home can impact energy efficiency. 

There are four main types of lighting you should keep in mind when designing or revamping your home. Each serves its own purpose and comes in a variety of options.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting provides the overall illumination and sets the mood for a room. Typically, it floods the room with lighting from above, from ceiling-mounted lights and ceiling fans. Wall sconces can also provide enough lighting to brighten a room.

Of course, ambient lighting can come in a variety of styles which can work well in larger rooms like kitchens and living rooms. Ceiling lights can be dome-shaped flushed fixtures, or recessed lights for a sleeker and more minimal look. They can be a part of a ceiling fan or stand alone for a bold statement-making chandelier. Or, tall floor lamps can provide excellent ambient lighting, especially in rooms with high ceilings.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is more dedicated to style than function. With the use of directional track lights or spotlights, you can guide the eyes toward artwork or architectural elements within your home that deserve special attention.

This type of lighting can add character to your home, setting the stage for your favorite spaces and pieces to shine. Options like cove lighting can be installed near your tray ceiling or crown molding to bring those features to life.

Task Lighting

There are a lot of tasks and activities we perform in our homes on a daily basic. From cooking and preparing your morning coffee to reading, writing, and working at home. Task lighting can illuminate the necessary areas for you to do your best work. 

Under-cabinet lighting is a great way to brighten up the counter tops when you’re prepping meals, while also highlighting your beautiful backsplashes, countertop décor, coffee bar, and more. Then, when it’s time to settle in for the night, task lighting by your bedside can help you crack open a good book to wind down.

Natural Lighting

Never underestimate the power of natural lighting within your home. Sunlight streaming in through your windows can instantly make a home feel more welcoming and comfortable. Of course, while we have no power over the sun outside, we can manage the ways we incorporate it into our lighting design through smart shading.

With a variety of fabric options, you can let just enough light in to brighten your home, while also controlling unnecessary glares, or even keeping your bedroom dark and cozy.

Source: Control4

Get Smarter About Lighting

The lighting in your home should feel intuitive and comforting, not cumbersome and overwhelming. With so many lights in your house, it can help to integrate them all into your smart home system. This way, you can manage them all from a single app, or even automate them based on your routines and energy-management needs. Smart lighting systems can even make your home safer, so you never come home to a dark house, and you can deter intruders while you’re on vacation.

 Phoenix Systems offers free consultations with our smart home pros to help design and install lighting solutions that work for you.