5 Summer Survival Tips for Working Parents
How many summers do you have left with your kids while they’re still kids? 3? 2?
When put into perspective, summer carries a lot of weight. But when you’re a working parent you tend to groan at all the how-to-keep-your-kids-busy-over-the-summer tips because your summer isn’t quite so carefree.
To be honest, I find summer more stressful than the school year. For one, my kids are fully aware now that not everyone spends their summer attending day camps. And two, we want to do everything SUMMER! How do you enjoy the season and still work through most of it?
1. Get realistic about your weekends and make the bucket list shorter.
There are approximately 11 weekends during the summer break and a quick glance at my own calendar revealed that 4 of ours are already filled up (how did that happen?). So I’ve started putting in some simple activities that I know my kids enjoy that don’t break the bank and are close to home. (In other words, embrace your inner slacker and set the bar low.) A bike ride on the Zim Smith Trail, mini golf, a movie at the Malta Drive-In, etc…
2. Do a little summer on the weekdays.
Again, I’m talking small: like eating popsicles before bed after playing in the sprinkler. My kids are 9 & 10 and I’m still surprised that they find fun in the simplest of activities. In fact, they even break out the kiddie pool once in a while (apparently, if you’re hot enough you’ll take what you can get).
3. If you can do it outside, do it outside.
We wait all year for good weather so if it’s nice, we’re outside. We don’t really have a patio or deck, so we use our driveway for dining al fresco instead. Or you could just use a few towels and have a picnic. Bonus points for having a badminton or croquet set at the ready for after dinner shenanigans.
4. Take dinners and household chores down to the bare minimum.
If you’re like me, then you’re probably already doing this, but seriously, ice cream counts for dinner, right? (Clearly, I’m not a nutritionist.) We often have cheese, crackers, and veggies with dip, make-your-own-salads, sandwiches, leftovers, and anything else that doesn’t involve cooking or too much prep time. For the house, we encourage (bribe) our kids to help out more. Fortunately, this is another area where we have pretty low standards. I mean, the laundry gets done and the lawn gets mowed, but the counters might be sticky (I just gave you the heebie-jeebies, didn’t I?).
5. Remember to have fun yourself.
After all, this is YOUR summer too! If going to amusement parks make you a tired, hot mess (me), it’s ok to skip them for your sanity. Kids need a breather once in a while too, even if they don’t think so. Hanging out with happy and relaxed parents, no matter what you’re doing, will be the best memory you can give your kids.
So there are my pretty obvious, but true tips for the summer. I need more though! How do you handle summer as a working parent?