Summer seems to pass in the blink of an eye. Squeezing every moment of fun out of the season sometimes requires us to bend, if not break, the rules.
Michele Borba, educational psychologist and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, puts it all into perspective: “Rules are always based on need. You should rethink them based on the necessities of summer… Push the pause button and ask yourself, ‘What are the three rules we need to have during the summer?' Don't let it all go; just take a step backward and loosen one thing at a time.“
So which rules can be broken without completely disrupting your family’s routine? Start with these four:
There’s something about summer that simply calls for sweet treats. Snow cones, ice pops, ice cream cones, s’mores and cotton candy are synonymous with summer. When I think back to the summers of my own childhood, many of my favorite memories involve those familiar sugary treats. As long as you’re offering up well-balanced meals and your kids are running around all day — soaking up summer — indulging once in a while will be a memory that your kids will carry into adulthood.
With a relaxed morning schedule that’s a lovely part of summer, many of us find that there’s a bit more wiggle room with bedtime. Staying up a half hour later than usual feels like an indulgence but isn’t enough to throw off the routine completely. With all of the running and playing they do outside, most kids fall asleep the minute their head hits the pillow, so the extra few minutes aren’t a big deal in the scheme of things. So, enjoy a few more minutes outside playing catch or collecting fireflies.
Sometimes my husband and I are having so much fun outside with the kids that when faced with the decision to continue the fun or go inside and make an entire meal, we opt for fun. We stay outside and play and then come inside for an easy dinner. A piece of cheese, some leftover chicken, a piece of fruit and a chunk of bread are easy to pull together and offer a good balance of nutrients.
During the year, we have a strict bedtime routine. We change into jammies, take vitamins, floss and brush teeth, climb into bed, read a handful of books and then say our goodnights. But in the summertime, we often take the kids out for a bedtime walk once they’re completely ready for bed. They love the sense of impromptu adventure and they’re ready to plop into bed when we get home.
Summer is fleeting and before you know it, we’ll be prepping for a new school year. Relaxing the rules a bit while the days hold more freedom will guarantee that your family is soaking up the joys of summer.
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