Making Summer Memories (When You're Short on Time)
Sixty-six percent of American households are dual-income. But sometimes, when you're scrolling through social media, it sure doesn't feel that way. Is everyone but you is at the beach with their kids on a random Wednesday morning?
First, remember that social media is everyone's highlight reel. Nobody posts pictures of themselves up at 4am typing furiously to meet a deadline or coming home late when they're kids are already tucked in.
When your kids are all grown, they'll remember the fun things they did with you whether they happened every day of the summer, or just a handful of really special times. Here's a list of memorable summer activities you can do outside of work hours.
1. Head to the beach. After it's closed for the day, the crowds have dissipated and admittance is free. Bring a football to toss around, build sandcastles at dusk and have a picnic dinner.
2. Make breakfast together. And eat outside. If your kids are young, they're probably up a good bit before you have to leave for work anyway. Make a simple pancake recipe, let them stir in the blueberries or bananas and then eat on the deck while the day is still cool and comfortable. (Leave the dishes soaking in the sink if you're short on time.)
3. Take a hike. Whether you're a city dweller or live in the woods, there's always someplace nearby to take a stroll with your family. If you don't have time before or after work, spend an hour one weekend walking and talking with your family.
4. Enjoy a staycation. Even if you can't get a week off work this summer, there's always the opportunity to spend a day venturing outside your regular spots. The best part of vacation is discovering new things with the people you love. Usually just an hour's drive or so will take you to a nearby town you've never seen. Check out their bookshop and toy store, grab an ice cream cone and play in an unfamiliar park.
5. Set a silly goal. Kids love going on quests. Plan a summer scavenger hunt with them. Maybe it's "we're going to try 5 new ice cream shops this summer!" Or "Let's find 5 new places to cool off!" Maybe you'll find a splash park you never knew about. Or someone will try a new flavor they never would have at their regular spot. Then document your adventures.
6. Switch things up. Do you usually read nighttime stories in bed? Try reading them in a hammock one night. Is dinner always at the kitchen table? Have a picnic on the lawn instead. Any break from the norm makes for a happy childhood memory.
7. Count stars. Sure, it'll mean one really late night, but the kids will remember it forever. Let them stay up long past bedtime, make s'mores (no fire needed, oven s'mores are just as tasty), catch fireflies, lay out some blankets and point out the constellations.
8. Serve a summer treat. Do cherry pies scream summer to you? Serve one for dinner one night. The kids will think you've gone mad, but there will surely be giggles and excitement over eating sweets for a main meal.
Taking a few moments to find the magic in every day will be something your kids will treasure forever.