Gone are the days of winter, which are as prim and proper as a wool OshKosh B'Gosh peacoat. Now that summer is upon us, go ahead and unwind with the following parenting tricks — some may call them lazy, but your kids will call them awesome.
1. Smoothies for breakfast. Cool, refreshing and filling. If you make one right, you won't have to worry about your kids' fruit and veggie intake for the rest of the day, either.
2. Outdoor art. Why would anyone make indoor crafts in the summer, when sandcastles and sidewalk chalk await? No clean-up, Mom.
3. Hosing off. This is a shower.
4. Jumping in the pool. This is a bath.
5. Paper plates and a blanket. Picnic in the living room — why not? It's summer! A well-executed picnic also guarantees no after-dinner dishes.
6. Tapas night. Give your children some culture by throwing a tapas night. You don't actually have to make tapas, though. We're talking cuts of deli meat, cheese and berries. Voilà! Dinner is served.
7. Undies for pajamas. Cute kid underwear is cooler and more comfortable than itchy nightgowns and pajama pants. Also? Half the laundry.
8. Wigging out and spontaneously driving to grandma's to prevent you from losing your mind. This is called a vacation, and it's perfectly fine to take the kids on vacation at least once every two weeks during the summer.
9. Grilling hot dogs. A grilled hot dog is summer's version of a home-cooked meal. Moreover, your kids will enjoy them more than any fancy meal you can whip up in the winter.
10. After-dinner park time. Kids know there's nothing more magical than swinging and sliding as the sun goes down, while fireflies dance in the background. For parents, there's nothing more magical than a little window of after-dinner time to update Facebook in peace.
11. Insisting on outdoor time. "No television — go play outside, it's good for you." Not only is this good parenting, it helps keep the house clean and quiet.
12. Making mud pies. A muddy mess is a kid's best kind of thrill, and a mother's best kind of break from playtime. (If you're concerned about a muddy disaster, see No. 3.)
13. Pitching a backyard tent for your older kids to go "camping." This is called a free night of babysitting.
14. Institute "free-play" time. Short periods of self-directed play are really good for older kids — particularly at about 2 p.m., when Mom is due for a nap.
15. Sending kids to camp for a week or longer. This is called a second honeymoon.
16. Letting kids raid the library. This is called a summer reading program. The more books they grab from the shelves, the better.
17. Get clever about ice pops. Jam an ice pop stick through the lids of small containers of yogurt and place them in the freezer. In just an hour, Supermom, you'll have protein-packed popsicles for all!
18. Allowing kids to stay up past their bedtimes. You'll find that this parenting technique is synonymous with "sleeping in," an art that is typically lost during the school year.
What about you? How do you embrace the lazy side of parenting during the summer months?
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