Thursday 20 July 2017

Making The Fun Last All Summer Long

It’s that time of year where parents are taking a deep breath, sweating excessively and buckling themselves in for yet another summer holiday. It’s not that we don’t love the summer holidays. We totally do. All those days out and playing outside and having barbecues and letting them stay up slightly later than normal and getting creative, and creating outdoor play opportunities, and doing arts and crafts and going on adventures. It is amazing, and the fact it will probably fly by at Mach 5 - once again-  kind of makes us sad and it hasn't even begun yet. But while all of this awesomeness is, well, awesome, it is also unfathomably exhausting too.

Within a week of your kids breaking up from school, they will have said the words “I’m bored” approximately six-million times. It doesn’t matter how hard you work to counter this and keep them entertained, all that unstructured freedom is a battle like no other. Not to mention the sibling wars that will occur and the totally unreasonable tantrums and everything else that will try and prevent you from doing all you can to make the next three months as fun-filled and action-packed as possible. The fun only ever seems to last about two-weeks max. It’s insane.

If you’ve been nodding along to everything we’ve said, with panic filling up behind your eyes, then it is time to smile because we have some wonderful news for you. We’ve come up with a list of ways you can stretch out the fun so that your kids never (or rarely) get bored and you don’t suffer from burnout by the second Friday.

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1. No Summer Survival Can Be Done Without A Schedule

Pick a day, once a week, where you can sit down for a couple of hours, in peace, and make a fun-filled schedule for the next seven days. That is the best way to keep your kids happy and active and your life stress-free. This is what summer camps do so why should be any different? Kids love summer camp. The important thing to remember when making a schedule is nothing is too small to be considered. It could be a scavenger hunt, a trip to the local splash pad, heading to the park for a picnic with friends, using your family pass to go the zoo or the aquarium, going on a bike ride, having a fancy dress day or setting up a slip n’ slide in the garden. Kids latch on to ideas like barnacles on a whale, so by having something they can get excited about you’re onto a winner. Just make sure you consider your normal routines too. By this we mean, if your kids have a nap around midday, then schedule something for the morning and something for the afternoon, with a couple of hours allocated to nap time. Oh, and one more thing, you may find this scheduling thing is amazingly fun.

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2. Never Ignore Their Need To Be Bored

Your kids are probably going to disagree with you on this one, as is your insanity, but your kids need to be bored sometimes. It’s so important to their growth and imagination and independence and all that sort of stuff. So just make sure you are considering this fact when it comes to scheduling the next week of activities. You don’t have to pack a dozen activities or outings into every single day. No way. You need to have time for yourself, and you need to have time where your kids play independently of you. Using their imaginations in the garden, playing with one another and creating their own fun without you there to give them ideas. It can be hard to accept, but you don’t have to constantly entertain your kids. You’re not a gladiator under the rule of a sadistic Roman Emperor. So, yeah, make sure there is free time in the schedule for them to just do whatever it is they want to do.

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3. The Foods That Can Ruin Summer

The most obvious foods that spring to mind when we think about summer are sugary ones. You know what we are talking about. We’re talking about stopping off and yet another ice cream stand, or buying another glass of homemade lemonade from the girls next door, and making milkshakes and grabbing a bite to eat from street food vendors, like hot dogs and burgers. These all have super high levels of manufactured sugar. Actually, burgers are doubly bad because ground beef is the prize winner when it comes to E. coli. What’s more, legal cases are cropping up more frequently. Find out more about Robins Cloud LLP and you’ll find out more about exactly what food poisoning issues are on the up and up. Anyway, instead of all these added sugar foods, try and go down the route of only having natural sugar. Yes, we’re talking about fruit or, if you have to have a burger, make it something like a flank steak burger. The reason being, sugar is going to encourage difficult behavior when eaten on a daily basis and three months can feel a lot longer when your kid is having sugar-induced meltdowns.

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4. Keep That Bedtime Routine Alive And Well

The summer is amazing for bringing out a good vibe in people. We just adopt a little spring in our step and a little more energy in our days, and so do your kids. They just seem to take it up another gear. We don’t know how they do it. They seem to be able to run, skip, jump, swim, climb trees and conquer mountains from the moment they wake up to the moment we put them to bed. That is the important part of all this, putting them to bed. The fact they spend all day every day wearing themselves out means they really need to get a lot of quality sleep in. It’s not just so that they stay happy, or so that they can bounce about for yet another day; it is so that they don’t get exhausted. Exerting that much energy over that amount of time is bound to take a toll on their physical and emotional health, and that is why it is so important to maintain their regular bedtime. Just think of all the tantrums you could be saving yourself from.