Summer should be carefree and enjoyable, but with the kids home 24/7 it can become tense and stressful. Mighty Mommy has 6 tips to help you reclaim summer for your family.
There’s something dreamy and magical about the start of summer. On the coldest, dreariest days of winter, the mere thought of sitting on the beach with my toes immersed in the cool, wet sand while my kids happily build sandcastles close by is often enough to keep me warm until those sunny days finally arrive.
But once those carefree weeks of summer land on my doorstep, so does something else—my kids! School’s out and although that means the tight, hectic schedule we navigate between September and June is now over, it’s quickly replaced with 10 full weeks of having kids home 24/7.
When I think of summer I think of lazy days where rest and relaxation go hand in hand, but realistically that’s not usually the case. Instead of chilling out, families tend to burn out because suddenly they've got 8–10 hours of free time each day and the kids complain that they’re bored or fill the time by staring at electronic gadgets, squabbling with their siblings, or getting into trouble.
If this sounds familiar, worry not! Mighty Mommy has 6 tips that can help you reclaim summer without setting up a 3-ring circus in your backyard.
Here are 6 simple tips to make this summer your best summer ever:
Tip #1: Do One Thing as a Family Each Day
The one thing kids remember is the time their parents spend with them. Even if you’re a full-time working parent like I am, there are plenty of opportunities each and every day to have fun and connect with your child.
On the days I can devote extra time to my kids I do silly things like call the home phone from my cell phone and then tell whoever answers to please report to the kitchen immediately because there’s a problem. When the kids arrived sheepishly, they found me waiting armed with bathing suits, towels, and all our beach gear. “I decided to take some time off today for us to go to the beach,” I explained.
See also: 5 Ways to be a More Playful Parent
Because it was completely unexpected, it really made the beach day more fun and special.
Tip #2: Don’t Forget Structure
The school year is crammed with schedules, activities, homework, and so when summer arrives, everyone breathes a sigh of relief because the pressure is off. While that’s definitely a good thing it’s also important not to abandon some structure during the summer months so that kids still know what’s expected of them.
So set up guidelines right off the bat. If your child has a daily chore, don’t just assume he’ll get to it whenever he has a chance, enforce that after breakfast it’s time to take care of the daily chores, then it’s free time again. Before dinner might be devoted to summer reading or putting laundry away. Whatever you decide is right for your family, make sure your kids know what the expectations are so everyone is on the same page all summer long.
Tip #3: Encourage Your Child to Try Something New
While there’s no pressure of schedules and school work, summer is a wonderful time to encourage your child to explore a new hobby or a new sport that he or she might not have had the time to take on during the school year.
During the past few years, on the last day of school, we've taken our kids out for ice cream to celebrate completing another year. We take that as an opportunity to chat about some new things they can try for the summer. One of my sons wanted to learn how to cook, so we set up some time each week for him to learn his way around the kitchen and how to follow recipes. He’s now the best brownie maker in the house!
My daughter who just graduated from high school admitted last summer that she’d always wanted to learn to knit. I had always been interested as well, so we learned together.