Surviving and Thriving: How to Enjoy the Summer with Your Children
by Olessia Kantor
It’s early in the morning and I can feel the sunshine beating through my window. The warmth engulfs me as I roll over, preparing to wake up. It only takes a few minutes before I feel the weight of little arms and legs scrambling to climb onto my bed. As those bright eyes and beautiful smiles greet me, the same little arms now wrapping themselves around me, I know my day has begun. My kids are ready to go, and they will be the next day, and the next day, because that’s what summer vacation is all about.
Having the kids home for the summer can be both rewarding and challenging. Here you have the opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime, but it comes at a price. You’ll still need time to yourself to do what you need to do. You can’t break the bank going somewhere every day for those two months. It’s a lot to manage, but these tips can help keep your summer sane.
- Keep an eye out for free events and activities in your area. Like you, other parents in the area are trying to keep their kids busy without spending a ton. Museums typically have one day a week where admission is free. Community centers and YMCA/YMHAs often offer free activities at parks, libraries, etc. throughout these months. Check your local newspapers, supermarket bulletin boards, and local websites to find out what’s going on when and take advantage.
- Stay on a schedule. Many people find their kids behaving rowdier than usual in the summer, and that’s because they lose structure. By keeping some sort of schedule to your day, your kids are adapting to a new routine for the summer months, instead of thinking each day is a free-for-all. The less unstructured time they have, the less likely they are to get themselves into trouble. Keep in mind that some things can’t be planned for (mainly the weather) and try to remain flexible enough in these situations to come up with a plan B.
- Ask your kids for their opinions. While you can’t let them run the show, kids will get more excited about each day when they feel they had a say in what happens. Whether they pick where you have lunch, what the afternoon activity is, or what movie to watch on a rainy day, they will feel good about having made a contribution.
- Get your kids to help you out. Summer gives you the opportunity to teach children thing you don’t have the time or opportunity to teach them during the year. Teach them how to fix themselves a peanut butter sandwich, or run their own bath water. Keep in mind what is age appropriate for your child. These skills will free up some of your time not just during the summer, but the rest of the year as well.
It may seem intimidating to have the kids home for those two months, but it’s important to make it feel like fun for everyone. Appreciate the season as a special time to bond with your kids. Remember what summer felt like when you were growing up and impart it on your children for a fun and magical time they will remember even after school is back in session.