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4 Ways To Create A Special Summer For Your Children If You Are A Working Parent

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Career & Money

4 Ways To Create A Special Summer For Your Children If You Are A Working Parent

During my childhood, my mother stayed at home with me and my siblings. The summer days back then were largely unstructured. If you were to peek into the life of 8-year-old me in the 1990s, you would likely find me outside with neighborhood friends, enjoying popsicles and embracing the carefree spirit of those sunny days.

Our evenings were marked by the neighborhood ritual of returning home once the streetlights flickered to life. Occasionally, one of the moms would take us to the local pool for a refreshing swim. The stretch between the end of classes in June and the start of the new school year in August seemed endless, filled with memories that linger fondly in my mind.

Fast-forward to 2023, and my daughter, aged 8, experiences summers quite different from mine. Both her father and I hold full-time jobs, so she spends her days at a summer camp catered to school-aged children, hosted at the same childcare center attended by her younger sibling. Although her summer days are packed with exciting field trips to locations like the zoo, bowling alley, movie theater, and pool, she misses out on the leisurely, laid-back summers of my youth.

Despite the necessity for a shift in how my kids experience summer, I’m committed to infusing the season with a touch of magic and relaxation evocative of my own childhood memories. Here are some tips for working parents to make summertime exceptional:

Maximize Outdoor Time

Take advantage of every opportunity to engage in outdoor activities. Enjoy meals on the patio, have weekend lunches on a picnic blanket, and grab the chance for impromptu bike rides. Being outdoors not only fosters organic neighborhood fun, such as water play in the backyard, chalk mural creation, and catching fireflies, but also allows your children to explore and embrace spontaneity, capturing the essence of summer magic.

Grant Age-Appropriate Independence

In a manner reminiscent of my upbringing, I am gradually allowing my daughter more freedom as she grows older, establishing clear boundaries and rules regarding her whereabouts and curfew. We engage in conversations about summer safety hazards, emphasizing the importance of adhering to these guidelines to earn increased responsibility. While I’m comfortable with her visiting friends nearby, we’ll need more discussions on water safety before unsupervised pool or beach visits become permissible.

Loosen Your Daily Routine

Permit yourself to step back from the usual evening hustle of organized activities. This shift creates room for spontaneous neighborhood fun and opens up evenings for exciting summertime pursuits like outdoor concerts, baseball games, farmer’s markets, or local fairs.

If your work schedule allows flexibility, seize the opportunity. While I usually commence work early due to the school’s early start time, I take advantage of the summer break to enjoy leisurely mornings, departing for camp just before 9:30 a.m. when the field trips kick off. Embracing later nights and extended sleep-ins characterizes our summer routine.

Take PTO for Unstructured Time

If feasible, consider taking a day or two off work to spend with your children at home, free from structured plans. Embrace laid-back mornings and let the day unfold naturally. Perhaps you’ll encounter the ice cream truck, join a neighborhood gathering, or find yourselves at the park or splash pad. Venture on a spontaneous movie theater outing with popcorn or enjoy a tranquil afternoon at the library immersed in books.

While such days may not be frequent, I strive to incorporate a dose of fun into each day, even if it’s just 15 minutes dedicated to joyful activities in the evenings, creating cherished summer memories.

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