Summer is here, and pretty soon (if not already) your kids will have started the school holidays. While this is great news for them – schools out for summer, woohoo! – it can be a headache for you, as the parents. That is why I put together this Summer Survival Guide. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me to create it!
While more time with your children is surely a good thing, there are those moments when stress will rear its ugly head. Those infernal words “I’m bored” are bound to make more than a few of you overheat, and there are those other issues to think about – stranger danger, unhealthy eating, and having little time to relax away from the demands of parenting. With all of these things in mind, here is our summer survival guide for frazzled parents.
When Kids Say I’m Bored
So, here’s the biggie for many tired moms and dads. Their little ones regaling them with those terrible two words – I’m bored! Just how can you keep your children entertained all day, every day, for the duration of the school holidays?
The answer: you can’t! If you are trying to entertain your kids 24/7, you will not only tire yourself out, but you will also restrict their imaginations too. Sometimes, your children need to entertain themselves, without your intervention.
Still, you can make life a little easier on them, and you. Provide them with activities they can do at home, be that water games for the garden, or dress-up clothes for some imaginative role play inside. You should also sit down with your kids, and work out a summer bucket list – a list of those things they would like to do before summer ends. Then make a plan, making compromises so that you and they, all have something to look forward to over the summer season.
You will likely be spending a lot of time outdoors over the summer, whether that’s in your garden, on day trips, or on holiday away, be that a camping holiday – don’t worry, it doesn’t have to suck! – or somewhere abroad. Stranger danger needs to be at the forefront of your mind.
Whether your kids are playing alone in the garden, playing with friends away from home, or with you on whatever trip you are taking, you and they need to adhere to safety guidelines. A little education is a wonderful thing, so talk to your kids about the possible dangers, and stay alert yourself to keep your little ones (and big ones) safe.
Unhealthy eating and drinking
Summer is great, but if you’re looking to protect your children’s health (and you really should be), you will know how frustrating it can be when your children reach for the unhealthier options. Fizzy drinks, ice creams, barbecue foods – all are fine, in moderation, but they aren’t great for your children’s health in the long term.
What can you do? Well, don’t always say ‘no’ to your kids, as this will frustrate them, but provide healthier options. And by healthier, we don’t mean endless bottles of water or green vegetables, as you will just antagonise your kids further, especially when their friends are guzzling down soda and eating ice lollies.
Instead, buy your children drinks with zero sugar, and consider fruity waters. Instead of indulging your children (and yourself) with sugary ice creams, perhaps make your own, using some healthy ice cream recipes. Hint: this may be an activity you do with your kids too! And put a limit on barbecue foods, or look for healthier options to grill, rather than anything too troublesome for your children’s health. And when we say their health, we also include yours!
Finding time for yourself
As a parent, you don’t get a lot of time for yourself anyway. With the constant demands of your children, it’s a miracle you haven’t burnt out already (you don’t need the sun to make you overheat). Still, in term time, at least your children are at school, so you may get some time to call your own. You can’t say the same when term ends. The summer holidays may also be your break from work, so some me-time should be part of your agenda, away from regular demands.
So what to do? For starters, adhere to what we mentioned earlier, and provide activities your children can do without your intervention. And then talk to your friends. You may be able to rota childcare with them – you have their kids around your home one day, and your friends can have the pleasure of your children’s company another. Look for holiday clubs in your home town too.
Many churches, leisure centres, and community groups have summer activities planned over the season, so book your children onto something they are guaranteed to enjoy, and then use that time to do the things you want to do, even if that’s just sitting in your garden with a good book and a cocktail!
We hope our advice was useful, but if you have any tips of your own for other frazzled parents, be sure to let us know. Thanks for reading, and we hope you and your children have a fantastic summer ahead.