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5 Fresh Ways to Spend Family Time This Summer

This summer, don’t get overwhelmed with the notion of keeping your kids busy so that they won’t complain of boredom or drive you crazy if you can’t be their personal cruise director. Summer can truly be a time for rest and relaxation if you have the right mindset. Mighty Mommy has 5 fresh ways to spend family time this year.

By
Cheryl Butler,
Episode #331
Family in lawn

Summer is here and the living is easy! The pressure from the school year is over and our schedules are considerably lighter once summer vacation arrives. While this is certainly a welcome change for most overscheduled families, it also means our kids will be home for ten weeks, needing direction and activities to keep them entertained and happy.

This summer, don’t get overwhelmed with the notion of keeping your kids busy so that they won’t complain of boredom or drive you crazy if you can’t be their personal cruise director. Summer can truly be a time for rest and relaxation if you have the right mindset. Mighty Mommy has 5 fresh ways to spend family time this year.

Tip #1: Un-Schedule Your Summer

Besides enjoying the balmy, sunny days that we have here in our beautiful seaside community, my favorite part of summer is not having to hop from one kid activity, sports practice, or other after-school event to another for a glorious two months. It didn’t start out that way, however. When my older kids were in elementary school, I went from a busy school schedule to an even crazier summer schedule because I felt the need to make sure my kids had a lot of things to keep them occupied. By the third week of vacation, we were all burnt out, and by the time late August rolled around, we couldn’t wait to get back to school.

One way to guarantee an easy-breezy summer is to take a break from scheduled activities. There are certainly things that will need to be regimented—for instance, if your kids attend a summer camp or have a birthday party or playdate with friends here and there. But if you can refrain from filling your calendar with obligations, classes, and other commitments that can wait until the fall, the entire family will benefit from the beautiful concept of just spending time together and chilling out.

See Also:  6 Tip to Transition Kids from School to Summer

Tip #2: Recreate a Family Hot Spot in Your Home

When we scurry from one activity to the next all year long, we don’t often get the chance to sit and enjoy our families in the peace and quiet of our own homes. When we’re rushed, we tend to overlook how we’ve even decorated certain areas of our home. Taking the time to create rooms that are inviting and make us want to spend time together at home can be left on the back burner when we hustle and bustle through our weeks. Now that summer is here and the pace has slowed down, take a good look around your home and see what improvements you can make that would allow for cozier family time.

This can be a project you take on as a family. Last year, we decided our family room really needed a makeover, so we took a vote on how we could transform the room and decided we would enjoy a tropical theme. We accomplished this with paint, new throws and pillows, and a few pieces of Caribbean-flavored artwork. It took only one weekend and when it was done, we felt great. Now it’s our favorite room in the house—even our two dogs love it!  

See Also:  9 Unique Wall Decor Ideas

Tip #3: Rediscover Your Town

When the economy really fell a few years ago, instead of expensive airline tickets and hotel stays, people began looking for cheaper alternatives to spend time with their families, and the increasingly popular and fun vacation phrase, “staycation” was born. Vacationing over the years with eight kids is a blast (well, most of the time!) but it’s also very expensive. Last summer, we went to Disney World for a week; but this summer, we’re going to stay close to home. Every community has little hidden gems and places of interest that we can take for granted because so often we focus on finding activities away from home rather than right in our own backyards. There is a wonderful and free tool that can help you rediscover your own town this summer—Virtual Tourist. Visit VirtualTourist.com, where you can take advantage of travel guides and forums featuring the best tips, photos, and reviews on 70,000 travel destinations, including your own town.

Tip #4: Cook Together and Share With Those in Need

With a lighter schedule throughout summer, I have more time to spend preparing sit-down meals and baking. All eight of my kids love to cook, and I think that’s because ever since they were old enough, they have helped out in the kitchen—especially when it came to assisting in putting a recipe together. Summer is a great time to try out new recipes, especially because the family is together more and can have some input on new dishes everyone might like to try. One family in our neighborhood started a great tradition several summers ago and cooked a meal together, doubling it, so they would enjoy one of the meals and would drop off the other meal to a family that was in need (think new baby, sick parent, death in the family) or to a homeless shelter. 

We did this in our family recently and had a great time together. My teenage kids did most of the work while their younger siblings and I baked some cookies and homemade pop tarts for the dessert. We surprised the family of one of my son’s friends that had just moved to a new neighborhood with the extra portions we had prepared. This is a great way to teach your kids about paying it forward as well as the chance to spend some fun family time together.  

See Also:  5 Tips to Make Meal Planning Easier   

See Also:  5 Fun Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Volunteer

Tip #5: Get Back to Basics

In this high-tech age we live in, it’s easy to get caught up with smart phones, iPads, and other sophisticated forms of electronics as a way to stay connected and entertained. However, as we all know, it is also highly distracting when you see one of your kids, co-workers, or a spouse (or maybe it’s you!) constantly attached to one of their devices. Take a cue from Mother Nature’s lazy, hazy days of summer and spend some time recharging your family’s batteries with simple outings like playing Frisbee in the backyard, having a picnic at the park or beach, picking a bouquet of wild daisies to place on your kitchen table, blowing bubbles on the front porch, or simply taking a stroll through your neighborhood to reconnect with friends you may not have seen all winter long.  Make it a point to leave all electronics alone when doing this so you can enjoy real “face time” with each other.  

See Also:  5 Effective Ways to Connect With Your Teen

How does your family enjoy time together in the summer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page, or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.

Also, visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

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Blowing bubbles image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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