Everything is different in the summer. There’s an infectious feeling in the air, a taste of freedom. The days are long, the kids are out of school, and it’s time for some adventure! But with all of the fun opportunities at your fingertips also comes the pressure to make it the BEST SUMMER EVER. You know that overwhelming feeling; you’re trying to fit in a swim party, robot camp, an afternoon hike, the farmers market, and an outdoor puppet show and still feel like a human being. There is a fine line between seizing the day and overbooking yourself and melting in the sun. Balance is key, and I’m here to help with some tips for staying in that summer fun sweet spot.
5. Find Water
Kids love any excuse to splash around in the pool, ocean, or lake, this we know. But oftentimes a hose and a bucket will do the trick just as well. My daughter spent 40 minutes one day emptying out the birdbath one cup-full at a time and giggled the entire time. Let them create a mini car wash on the patio for their matchbox cars, and while they’re at it, let them help you wash your car too. You know it probably needs it.
4. Keep Up Your Stock of Frozen Treats
This sounds simple enough, but oh the difference a Popsicle makes. When the inevitable cries of “I’m bored” begin, you can turn them around in an instant. “Let’s sit outside and have a Popsicle!” A change of scenery and a sweet treat and the next thing you know they’ve found a frog in the grass and they’re off on a new adventure. If you’re feeling like a super-parent, make your own with some healthy yogurt and fresh fruit.
3. Challenge Yourself
Adventure is the name of the game in the summer, and this applies to moms and dads as well. If you’re normally the type that likes to lounge in the sun with an iced latte and a book, then I challenge you to use the call of summer to step out of your comfort zone. Take the kids Paddle Boarding; coordinate a neighborhood kickball game; join the kids in a cannonball contest. On the other hand, if you’re the on-the-go adventurous type of parent, I challenge you to be mindful and take a break. Watch a movie with your kids in the air conditioning and don’t do anything else. Just take it in. I think you may surprise yourself how much fun you can have if you step outside of your normal patterns, and I promise you your kids will love to see it.
2. Cook with Your Kids
Summer is a great time for some kitchen bonding because of the fresh produce and simple meals we often eat when it’s hot out. It’s a bonus if you’re growing some of your own vegetables, and the kids can pick, clean, and cook their very own. I find that when children get to watch it grow and then prepare it they are far more likely to be adventurous eaters. They take pride in that tomato! Slice up a tomato and let them arrange it on a plate with fresh basil leaves and mozzarella, drizzle a little olive oil and voila! Caprese salad. They will feel so fancy telling their friends they made Caprese salad.
1. Go with the Flow
Summer has that magic feeling for a reason, so use it to let go of the reigns on your normal schedule and see what kind of fun can appear if you’re not too busy planning it. If the kids are giggling and catching lightning bugs, hold off on bedtime just a few more minutes. If everyone looks worn out, take a break from the outdoor fun and declare it a movie day. And always keep a Plan B in your pocket for that inevitable afternoon rainstorm: the library, an ice cream shop, or some time with their favorite video game can often cheer up the blues of cancelled plans.
Have fun on those adventures, Super Parents! You got this.