Summertime means no school for kids, which means more time spent as a family … right? When you’re a working parent, though, the answer isn’t so straightforward. This article gives you some suggestions on how to make the most of your packed summer schedule and still feel like you walked away with some cherished memories.
Ways to Stay Connected
Here are some simple ways parents can stay connected with their children during the summer.
- Plan Small Family Outings – When you’re a working parent, you may not have the luxury of spending your full two weeks of vacation on one family trip. Don’t downplay evening and weekend trips to local parks, beaches, aquariums, museums, or zoos. These outings provide quality time, shared memories, and lots of fun.
- Get Outside – Summertime is the perfect time to get out and appreciate nature. Take your kids biking, trail walking, hiking, camping, or swimming. If your kids are up early in the morning, go birdwatching. In the evenings, go stargazing. While you’re out, pull out your phone and learn about the different plants, animals, and environments you’re exploring.
- Create a Summer Bucket List – Sit down together and make a list of activities and goals you want to achieve as a family. Have everyone pick a goal for themselves and then pick a few to complete together. This can include things like learning new skills, trying new recipes, reading so many books, or visiting specific destinations. And don’t forget to reward yourselves at the end of the summer when you’ve checked everything off!
- Schedule Family Nights – Just like how you might schedule a meeting at work, set aside special time each week for your family. It’s completely up to you on what you do. Play board games, have a video game tournament, watch a movie, spend time in the backyard … the list is endless! You can do the same thing every week or take turns letting everyone pick an activity.
- Cook Together – Bon appetit! Involve your children in making dinner or meals for the week. And play the part of sous-chef every once in a while. Let them choose recipes, shop for ingredients, and take a leading role in the actual cooking. Not only is this a great way to spend time together, but it teaches your children a valuable life skill.
- Read & Tell Family Bedtime Stories – If you’re a family of readers, organize a family bedtime book club. Choose a book that interests everyone and read it together. Discuss the story, characters, and themes. You can also take turns telling stories, either by creating your own or retelling family stories and memories.
- Volunteer as a Family – Give back while spending time together. Look for local organizations who need the extra help cleaning up parks, serving meals, or participating in fundraisers. This helps children develop empathy and a sense of social responsibility.
Give Yourself a Break
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean the number of hours in a day has magically increased. If anything, you may feel like you have even less time. Just remember, the key is to be present, engage in activities that interest both you and your children, and create opportunities for open communication and shared experiences. Enjoy the summer and the precious time you have!