Parenting seems to change gears in the summer. For some parents, it is fun, lazy, adventurous, and full of good family time. For others, it is too long and full of kids complaining they are bored. And for those who have full time jobs and put their kids in camps, it is business as usual.
If you are a parent who sees summer as a challenge to your creativity and patience, here’s some tips to help you survive–maybe even enjoy–the summer. Even if the summer is well under way for your household, it’s not too late to make the most of the time you have left.
Family Meeting. Start with a family meeting to get input from your kids about some activities they want to do.
Plan out your summer. Calendar larger outings first, then weekly outings. Keep it posted on a family calendar so the kids know what they have to look forward to.
Keep some kind of routine. Even though it’s summer and the temptation is very strong just to be lazy (set aside specific lazy days in your schedule!), you and your kids still need some kind of structure to keep sane. Of course, it will be more laid back than during school, but each child should know what they need to do before lunch, before dinner, before bed.
Trade kids with a friend. By this I mean, offer to watch a friend’s kids and let her return the favor. Maybe schedule this in once a week or every two weeks. This gives your kids playtime, and you a break. It’s a great way to get some time off from the kids during the summer.
Read a book together. Let your kids choose a book and spend some time each day reading it out loud together. Add in popcorn, a snuggly blanket for some fun bonding.
Get outside every day. The computer, video games and TV have a very strong pull to keep kids in doors. So if they are not doing any sports or campus, be sure you schedule in some outdoor time. It can even be after dinner when it’s cooler or at night. And don’t let the rain keep you inside. Today, I went bike riding in a drizzle just because I didn’t want to miss my ride. And guess what? I didn’t melt!
Stock up your pantry and freezer. Buy bulk paper goods. Make or buy lots of popsicles. Keep hamburgers and buns on hand for spur-of-the-moment BBQs.
First aid kit. If you already have one, go through it to be sure it has all the basics and that medications are not expired. If you don’t have one, get one or put together one today. The Red Cross has a list of what you should include.
Label everything. Put a phone number and name on your kids’ bathingsuits, summer clothes, towels, etc. You’ll really be glad you did this when you pack up the kids and their stuff and head to the beach, lake or just to a friend’s house.
Keep a car busy bag: Have a tote or backpack filled with age appropriate “busy” supplies for each child: drawing pad/activity book, magnetic puzzle or game, crayons/markets and pencils, cards, small bag of animals, dinosaurs, or some other play set.
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