The school year is a crazy time of year. At first parents are happy for the day to day break from their kids, then comes the insanity of trying to get the kids up, ready, and to school on time, then the amount of school functions a parent must attend becomes unbearable. It’s about all parents can do to pull it together until summer vacation. The first few days of summer vacay are bliss. Then the reality of having your kids day in and day out hits you. You realize the enormity of the situation you are in. I won’t lie, it can get rough. But it can also be tons of fun. Here’s 11 tips that can help you have a smooth sailing summer with your kiddos:
1.) Remember sunscreen. I won’t lecture you about the risks of skin cancer and such. Instead I’ll leave you with: do you really want to have to deal with a child who is sunburned? Not me, that’s for sure! Sunscreen comes in spray bottles, sticks, lotions, and more. I’ve fallen in love with Neutrogena Baby. Not only is it safe to use on the most delicate of skin (6+ months) but I love it for me too.
2.) Schedule school/sports/yearly physicals NOW. Those appointments fill up fast! Don’t wait until August to think about the school or sports physical your child absolutely needs. You’ll be out of luck. Book now and your doctor’s office will thank you.
3.) Spend time outdoors and indoors. Yes, summer is a gorgeous time of year, but indoor time is just as important. Be sure to create your downtime in your fun summer days. Kids of all ages can and will get rundown and overly tired and no one wants to deal with an overly tired child! [I’m going to remind myself of this one frequently]
4.) Keep on a schedule. Keeping on the same “school schedule” is no fun at all, but keeping to a summer schedule or routine can be easier when the new school year rolls around. Even if bedtime is later and wake up time is later or a nap is added in to make up for lost sleep, keeping to the same-ish routine daily helps both kids and parents.
5.) Keep a First Aid kit and Band Aids easily accessible. Band Aids have magical powers. Plus, the First Aid kit comes in handy during the many summer time wipe outs on the cement or off the playground or the baseball to the arm. Also, keep an ice pack or two ready to go in the freezer.
6.) Have kids do school work/reading time/etc. daily. Even just 10 minutes a day can keep the kids fresh for fall. Our favorite work books have kids complete one or two pages a day (they take all of 5 – 10 minutes to complete) or you can make up your own math/word problems. We also love science kits and doing our own experiments. The older kids are past the point of naps, but we do 20-30 minutes of reading time every afternoon. This gets the kids to relax and take a break from running around and it keeps them on top of their reading. Win, win for all involved.
7.) Keep hydrated. This should go without saying, but make sure kids have access to water at all times in hot weather. On really hot days, we add in all you an eat watermelon, Gatorade and/or Pedialyte for the younger crowd. Avoid anything with sugar (juices, sodas, lemonades) as can dehydrate a child easily.
8.) Beware of over heating and/or heat rash. Having dealt with this with my oldest child, it’s a very real and scary thing that can happen and should not be taken lightly. Obviously, with a heat rash, a child breaks out in a rash (usually red dots, but it can take on a variety of looks depending on the child). This can be the first sign of over heating. Immediately have a child remove any heavy clothing or remove all clothing (other than diaper/underwear). Get out of the heat and in air conditioning, in front of a fan, in a cool bath. Anything to bring the body temperature down. Signs of over heating include (but not limited to):
- red face/body
- excessive sweating or no sweat at all
- acting lethargic
Call your pediatrician immediately if your child displays any of these symptoms. Heat stroke can happen at any age.
9.) Instead of popsicles, make fruit pops. Again, the sugar + heat can lead to dehydration. The kids and I love mixing up smoothies in the morning, putting them into popsicle molds, and enjoying them in the heat to the afternoon. Great way to cool off and help with hydration.
10.) Don’t over schedule yourself or the kids. This is a tough one for me. There’s so much FUN happening in the summer, no school to worry about getting to on time, and gorgeous weather that it’s hard not to try to do anything and everything. Kids of all ages can become overly tired. Keep that in mind, stick to #4, and leave down time daily so the beginning of the school year doesn’t feel like a vacation.
11.) Have goals for the summer. Before summer begins, make a list of goals/things you want to do for the summer. Our goals for the summer range from reading the first 3 books in the Harry Potter series (my oldest) to going to our favorite swimming pool at least twice to vacations we want to take to places we want to hike. This ensures we’re never bored and keeping our lifestyle active.
About the Author
Ashlen Sheaffer is a proud Des Moines resident who was born and raised here. Ashlen wears many hats: mom, wife, daycare provider at her in-home daycare, blogger and co-owner at The Kidsperts, children’s book author, and co-director and producer for the upcoming play Expressing Motherhood play. In her free time Ashlen enjoys exploring all Des Moines has to offer, road trips, and adventuring all with the kids in tow. Ashlen is super excited to be able to share some of her family’s adventuring with other Iowans and get other families out into the community.