Summer break. No two words are quite as beautiful to the students in your life. There’s just something magical about the last bell ringing at the end of the school year. Chances are that you also have fond memories of summer. Relaxing, playing with friends, swimming, camps, and vacations likely come to mind.
Summer feels different as an adult. For starters, you probably don’t have the whole summer off work. Even if you do, parents need a break over summer too. Having your kids home is great, but you deserve some rest as well.
Your kids’ excitement for summer can soon turn into ‘I’m bored.’ And you might feel like you’re a cruise director trying to keep your kids entertained. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break and letting your kids do some activities without you right by their side. Check out these ways to relax away from your kids this summer.
- Keep Connected When Apart
As much as you might need some time away from your kids, it can be stressful not being in contact. Depending on their age, you can get them a cell phone for kids so you can be in contact. This allows you to feel connected and opens a two-way line of communication, even when you’re apart.
There are cell phones that are made just for kids with limited connection. This lets you rest assured that they can’t access the internet or social media apps from their phone. It’s made and programmed just to let them call and text you and other important family members.
- Plan Time for Fun
Try not to feel that mom or dad guilt for not doing everything this summer. It’s okay to take a break from your kids. It can let you recharge to be fully present for other moments. Planning for fun family time can allow you to take breaks and know you have dedicated time together.
Arrange a family game night this summer or pick a day to go to the pool. Schedule your summer vacation to the beach so everyone has something to look forward to. You could even find an activity that helps you feel whole and introduce it to your kids. If going to the driving range helps you let off steam, take your kids with you. Maybe that’s an activity you can enjoy together.
- Schedule Visits with Family
If you have family close, summer is a great time for slumber parties with cousins or grandparents. The kids are on a fun adventure and grandparents get the valuable time with grandkids, which they love. You get a few nights to yourself too. It’s a win for everyone!
If you have brothers or sisters, you and your siblings could even take turns a few weekends hosting cousin sleepovers. This lets you all share the adventure and break time.
- Set Up a Date Night Rotation with Friends
Do you have close friends with littles? If so, you could all get together for a rotating date night schedule. Say you’re friends with three other couples with small kids. One of you hosts a kids’ night, and the other three couples can go out kid-free.
This lets you all have breaks throughout the summer and gives the kids something to look forward to. It also divides the responsibility of watching the kids and saves on the cost of a babysitter or daycare.
- Keep a Routine
It can be tempting to throw out routines and rules for summer. But doing so can test your sanity and also isn’t good for your kids. As much as they want summer freedom, structure and routines help kids thrive.
Keep a set bedtime and rules over the summer. Even if they are a little looser than during school, set your expectations. This can help reduce anxiety and help with independence. It also allows you to stay in a routine for work and get the sleep you need. Kids up until 1 a.m. playing video games doesn’t let either of you get the sleep you need.
- Sign Up for a Camp or Sports Team
There are many options when it comes to summer camps and sports leagues. Get your kids involved to give them an activity to do this summer. Let them explore what interests them. Swim team, baseball, and soccer, are just a few summer sport options. Depending on your location, camps could range from sports, to STEM, to theater, to church camp.
While your children are at camp or practice, it gives you a break. And you can enjoy this time guilt-free because you know they are doing an activity they enjoy. They also are getting to spend time with friends in a safe, chaperoned environment.
- Don’t Overschedule Your Summer
Remember, you don’t have to entertain your kids 24/7. In fact, that will be stressful for you and doesn’t allow time for independent play. There are so many things today that overstimulate kids. Let them be bored this summer, and they can learn how to find ways to enjoy life on their own. This helps build important life skills.
Allowing for relaxing, or even a day with nothing planned, can be great. It allows for spontaneous moments as well, like an evening bike ride or catching fireflies. You might even find yourself making a fire in the fire pit and roasting smores. These can be calm ways you can unwind this summer and enjoy those little moments.
Summer break can be just that for kids and adults alike — a break. Don’t overschedule, but also plan for fun. Kid cell phones can help you stay in contact with your child, even when you’re not together. Set up visits with family and your friend group. It takes a village to raise kids — let your village help you have a restful summer.
Following these seven tips can help you enjoy your kids this summer and also take a parenting break when needed.
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