For kids, summer feels like a blissful, peaceful time with no rules and total relaxation. Ah, to be a kid again.
It’s not that way for parents, of course. We still have to work, perform our daily chores, and take care of the kids. There’s little time for relaxation and the rules are still in force.
But I'd argue that there are ways for parents to make the summer special by taking a little extra time and care to avoid some parenting pitfalls. These tips might make the difference between a summer that is just another season, and a summer that stands out and allows you to create lasting memories with your loved ones.
1. Allow Excessive Screen Time
Don’t let your kids veg in front of the TV/tablet all day. It’s so easy to let this happen. After all, the kids love it and it gives you the time and space to get things done without interruption. But there are so many downfalls. First, you’re limiting the amount of time you interact with your kids. Second, you cannot watch everything they’re watching to see if it’s age-appropriate. Third, it doesn’t do anything to stimulate your kids’ brains. Limit the amount of screen time and it will do everyone some good.
2. Ship Them Off to Summer Camp
It’s almost a rite of passage — sending your kids to summer camp. Hey, it gets them out of your hair and it provides them a life experience. But are your kids really getting anything out of it? And is it the best use of your time and money? It might be. But sending the kids to camp shouldn’t just be a knee-jerk reaction to summer break.
3. Fail to Find Cool Family Adventures
This is the time to fill up your weekends or days off with exciting and memorable activities for the entire family. Start looking for them early — like, now — and make plans to visit the children’s museums, indoor play areas, and outdoor adventure sights in your area.
4. Let Kids Stay Inside Constantly
Is it hot? Sure, it’s summer. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to the inside of your house. Take appropriate steps: use sunblock, bug spray, and carry large amounts of water — but get outside and find those parks with tons of shade and fountains that the kids will love.
5. Skip the Fun
Do not fail to do the following things: get a snow cone or snowball, catch lightning bugs, grab a late night ice cream, stay up super late watching movies, go outside and play catch, tag, or simply roll around in the grass. Also, go outside at night and look at the stars. Grab an astronomy book to figure out where the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Orion’s belt are. You can also spend time searching for a shooting star. Who knows? It might inspire a lifelong love of science and astronomy in your children.
6. Forget to Take Pictures
At the end of summer, take those images and either make a photo album online or use an app to create and edit homemade videos that you can watch anytime you want to relive the special moments.
7. Miss Out on a Ballgame
Sure, it might seem cliché, but there are few things that go together like summer and baseball. Even if you’re not a big baseball fan, you can still enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the ballpark. Plus, everyone loves a hot dog, popcorn, and a hot pretzel. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Most major league teams offer family ticket and food packages, and minor league teams often offer even better deals.
8. Work the Whole Summer
In the summer, everyone needs a break. Make sure that you schedule a few days off to do nothing except lounge with your spouse and kids. Need an idea of what to do? See number 5.
9. Pass Up a Summer Blockbuster
There are few things more fun than going to see the big summer blockbuster movie the day it opens. The anticipation, the waiting in line, and the rush of excitement when you race to your seats is something every kid and family should enjoy. Make it happen this summer.