Guest Contributor: How to Survive Parenting in the Heat
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Guest post by: Erika Weigle
As a parent, the phrase “beating the heat” takes on a whole new meaning. With summer months upon us, kids will soon have months of freedom to soak up the sun and play all day. This means it’s on you to plan fun adventures and activities to keep the whole family entertained.
But surviving parenting in the heat is easier said than done. The good news is that a little planning goes a long way. Here are some tips and tricks to make this summer the best one yet for the entire family.
Schedule fun activities
For working parents, and all parents really, summer can be quite the challenge. Children have endless free time while you're stuck in an office, on calls and in meetings for eight hours. To make the most of the summer plans, schedule fun.
With your children, come up with a summer bucket list. Then figure out which items are doable considering your schedule and budget. Planning activities gives everyone something to look forward to.
Find a balance between structure and freedom
The school year is quite stressful for most kids. From homework to academics to after school activities, it’s common for youngsters to feel overwhelmed. The summer is a much-needed reprieve for kids to chill and relax.
At the same time, kids also need structure. Create a schedule but keep it flexible. Maybe each day there are certain chores that need to be done. Or maybe on certain days plan for family meals where everyone chips in and helps prepare and cook.
Though it can be hard, resist the urge to overschedule. During the school year, chances are that you know your child’s schedule like the back of your hand. Once summertime rolls around, it can be hard to break the cycle of needing to schedule every minute of every day.
When school is out, take a breather! Enjoy the break from having to deal with a jam-packed schedule. Keeping a consistent routine is important, but unstructured downtime is good for everyone.
Spend time outdoors
Today’s younger generation knows all about screen time. When it’s hot outside and kids have nothing to do, they tend to fall into the habit of playing video games or spending hours watching videos on YouTube.
While screen time has its place, don’t be afraid to set limits. Encourage your kids to spend time outdoors. Summer is the perfect time to:
Run through the sprinkler
Go on an early morning hike
Plant a garden
Head to the library
There’s nothing better than fresh air and sunshine. Don’t forget the sunscreen and plenty of water!
Encourage your child to try something new
With no homework or quizzes to worry about, summer is the perfect time to encourage your child to take on a new hobby or to try a new activity. There are all sorts of summer activities for kids. Encourage your child to take swimming lessons, to attend summer camp, or to take-up a new sport.
Though new activities can be scary at first, they build your child’s confidence and self-esteem. They also open doors for creating new friendships and getting involved with the community.
Spend time together each day
As an adult, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of your job. But especially during the summer, be sure to spend time together doing something that you both enjoy. Whether you’re roasting marshmallows, running through the sprinkler, or trying out a new recipe on the grill, plan to do something each day to connect and have fun together. Remember, connecting with your children doesn’t have to be an all-day commitment. Even if you only have 10 minutes to spare, that 10 minutes means the world to your kids!
Don’t lose sight of learning
While summer is a break from the classroom, children should be encouraged to learn, no matter the season. Prioritize doing fun things with your kids but at the same time, push them to learn as well.
This could be as simple as encouraging them to read a book each week. Or maybe there’s an interactive summer camp they can attend to learn about coding or nature skills.
Show your child that learning is fun! Enable them to learn about topics that interest them so that their summer is as fulfilling as possible.
Take time for yourself
As with any season, don’t hesitate to take some “me” time! Though less hectic than most months, summer is still quite stressful for most parents. Take a few hours each week and do something that you enjoy. Read a good book, take a relaxing bath, or simply enjoy some peace and quiet!
Erika Weigle is a proud mom of three daughters, 3.5 and under. After her first child was born she became a part-time marketing consultant and full-time stay-at-home mom. Erika lives in Chattanooga, TN with her husband, kids and two fur babies.