I just dropped my daughter off at her best friend’s house for two nights. She’s super excited and I’m thinking: Are they going to be on screen all day? Will they get some exercise? How late will they stay up? And then I give myself a shake and say “Punch out, Kristen!” It’s summer holidays and the kids are older now. . . so what if they spend half the day on screens, eat too much junk or whatever? They are self-sufficient and don’t need every minute of their day planned for them. I must embrace my newfound independence and let them be free-range kids for a while, like I was back in the day. And those were the good old days – and they felt so long! I remember sitting in a field for hours putting buttercups under my nose to see if I liked butter, or whistling through a blade of grass. I remember riding bikes around the circle in front of my house with friends, playing cops and robbers. I remember hot days by the pool, diving for pennies in the deep end. A true endless summer.
I want my kids to enjoy the same slower pace of my childhood and not be booked up with things to do all the time. I want them to know the feeling of lazy summer days with no special agenda. I also want a break from trying to be the perfect mom, from always preparing wholesome snacks, organizing fun activities and arranging different outings. So how am I (and you) going to do it? Read on to find out how to have an old school summer.
Let them feed and water themselves. And so what if it’s not organic or farm fresh. Let them gorge themselves on fishy crackers and make their own lemonade from the powdered, store-bought stuff.
Say yes to an all-day movie or TV marathon. We have all done it before and it’s good to chill some days. It won’t kill them to have an indoor day complete with the usual movie snacks like popcorn, chips and gummy worms.
Release them into the wild for the day. No agenda, no plans, just a whole day to hang out and be kids. They can figure out what to do – build a rail for their scooters, put on a talent show, help a neighbour and more.
Let them be the hosts for a change. Have your kids invite friends over for a summer picnic or backyard sleepover. Keep it casual and let them plan the details. They can make PB & J sandwiches, lemonade (the crappy stuff you got them), popcorn and crack open a watermelon for a daytime affair. Or make it an evening camping experience where they can pitch a big tent in the yard and set up a s’mores station.
Send them off to family or friends. Put them on a plane and send them to their cousins for a week or let them have a multi-day sleepover at a friend’s. It’s a great experience in freedom for them and you!
Check out some other great ideas in my kid-approved list: 10 Summer Boredom Busters.