For many parents, school can’t wrap up fast enough. The early-morning scramble, the late-night projects, the checking backpacks / homework / due dates / EVERYTHING – it all adds up to overwhelming. But now that we’re well into the break, a whole new dynamic could be making these long summer days seem a little too long. Can you keep sibling squabbles, activities, childcare issues and more from putting a damper on your summer? Yes! Read on for tips on staying sane and making the most of these next few weeks of freedom.
SPEND SPECIAL TIME TOGETHER.
Sure, you could knock their socks off with a surprise vacation or elaborate, color-coded schedule of summer activities. But some of your best family memories will be far simpler: making homemade ice cream, having an epic water balloon battle, catching lightning bugs (yes, it’s still magical) or picking out the perfect watermelon from a roadside stand. Meaningful family time doesn’t come with a set price tag, or require hours of research and planning. In fact, you get bonus points for keeping it low-tech! The real beauty of summer, maybe even the whole point of it, is to slow down and just enjoy each other. Live in the moment. Appreciate where you are – and who you’re with.
LET KIDS ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES.
As students become more and more involved in extracurricular activities throughout the school year, family schedules are getting packed tighter than ever before. Add to that the lightning-fast rise of gaming consoles, streaming content and phones for everyone, and we’ve got a whole generation who seems to struggle with downtime. What’s a parent to do? Nothing. Literally. When your kids are bored, you might suggest a few activities: reading, crafting, playing with pets, building a fort, etc. Then move on. Letting kids bust boredom on their own does more than relieve the entertainment burden on parents. Research suggests that occasional boredom encourages daydreaming, which can boost creativity. Win-win!
SET ASIDE TIME FOR YOURSELF.
Summer is more than a break for the kids. It’s a break for YOU. Yes, work still goes on. No, the chores will not do themselves (actually, the kids can be doing more of that!). But parents and caregivers should enjoy some summer fun of their own. Give yourself permission to go see that blockbuster movie. Grab that book you’ve been meaning to start and head outside to read in the shade. Meet a friend for lunch and order dessert in the middle of the day. YOUR summer matters, too. Because few people work harder – and deserve more of a break – than the ones raising kids. And take it from us: YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB.