I’m not gonna lie. Summer is basically my favorite time of year, and not just because the sun stays up longer than I do, but because it means I have all of my kids home with me.
Yes, I’m one of those parents.
I don’t love the structure of the school days, and I loathe homework. I miss my kids when they’re gone, and I love endless summer days where they can be kids, and I can focus on being a mom without all the other distractions.
Perhaps you’re a mom like me, and perhaps you’re not. Regardless, summer is here, and we’re all in the same boat of figuring out how to fill the time. So, here are a few tips (from a mom of nine who is on her 13th official summer vacation) on how to enjoy the summer with your kids.
1. Wake up before they do.
Now, this may seem like an easy task. However, you may be surprised how early kids wake up when they don’t have to go to school. At my house, I have some very early risers ready to take on the day.
Waking up before the kids do, will help you be ready for the energy that is ready to blast you in the face. Trust me, you don’t want to be sleepy-eyed when this happens.
2. Fill your cup so you can fill theirs
Now that you have your kids with you full-time, it is important to find time for yourself. Maybe it is 30 minutes reading a book, meditating, running, or going for a walk by yourself, make yourself a priority so that you can be the best version of yourself for your kids.
3. Don’t worry about the grand experiences
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I worry too much about the production of a family outing or trip, that the fun gets lost in all the worry. I have found that summer isn’t always about the big planned trips, but often the best memories are made on the fly.
Recently, in fact, I took my four youngest boys to a park for a few minutes to break up the monotony of the day. The park had a splash pad that we weren’t ready for, but we rolled up our pant legs, took off our shoes and played for hours. The next day, they wanted to go again, but I opted for a sprinkler under the trampoline and pizza.
What I learned was that the smiles are the same no matter the experience.
4. Movie nights are a great way to end the day
When there’s no pressure to wake up early, nothing ends the day better than a good family movie. When my older kids were little, we set up sleeping bags in the family room that stayed there all summer long. Nothing beats a movie night and camping out on the floor every night.
5. Let them be kids
I have learned over the years that summertime doesn’t need to be filled with activities and structure because that is what the school year is for. The summer is a chance for kids to be kids, and to play and forge friendships. It is a time to be carefree so that they can learn about themselves in the most pure of ways.
And what’s more pure than being a kid in summer? I can’t think of much else. (Brown is a Serve Daily contributor.)