Family Rules to Break this Summer
School’s out, and it’s time for kids to break the rules. After all, there’s no school bus to catch in the morning, no homework to worry about and no reason to shower every day…right? Well, it depends. Although maintaining some level of normalcy and sanity in your home throughout the summer is important, it’s also okay to break a few of your rules.
As the family rule maker, sit down and think about your current rules and then carefully decide on some you’re willing to give up for a few months. Keep your family’s summer necessities in mind as you think things through and come up with a list you’d like everyone to follow. In the meantime, here are some helpful suggestions on what rules to ditch, along with some super fun ideas to replace them to make your summer one your kids will never forget!
- Bye-bye early bedtime! Because they don’t have to wake up early to catch the bus and head off to school, why not let them stay up an extra hour? Even if it’s just time for them to hang out in their bedrooms and read, it’s a big deal to kids to have that extra hour.
- Ice cream…for dinner? Why not? Take a break from cooking, let loose and allow the kids to eat junk food for dinner! Or simply flip-flop the norm and try having dessert before dinner. Kids love nights like this, and to be honest, you probably will too!
- Put away the alarm clock. Unless they must be somewhere, there’s no need for the kids to get up early. Let them sleep in, especially after they’ve exhausted themselves from long days of summer play. This gives you a chance to enjoy a peaceful morning while they’re snoring away.
- Try a new bedtime routine! Surprise your kids with a nighttime pajama walk around the neighborhood after they’re completely ready for bed. An impromptu walk will be a fun adventure, and if you do this at least once a week, it will become a lifetime memory.
- Battle the whines of summer boredom. Developmentally, boredom is important. It forces creativity, which is great for kids’ minds. Work with your children on a pre-planned list of things to do. Be prepared to stay by their side at the beginning of the activity, especially with littler kids, even if you’re just sitting nearby.
- Back down on your own screen time. Your technology habits heavily influence those of your kids. Try breaking down exactly how much time you spend with your children each day, one-on-one, without screens. It might surprise you just how little you get. So put your phone away while spending time with them and enjoy every minute having fun together.
- Keep a loose summer schedule. It’s good for everyone! Kids cannot be expected to entertain themselves for 12 hours a day (especially without screens), so relax your schedule. Give your kids possible projects or activities at the start of the week and let them choose. Board games with Mommy from 11:00 to noon, followed by lunch until 1:00 and quiet play or crafting time from 1:00 to 2:00.
However you plan to schedule your summer, get your kids excited about all the things they get to do, such as swimming, ball games with neighbors, riding bikes, playing in the sprinkler, visiting amusement parks and more. And remember: Playing outside helps their brains! Scientists say that the sights and sounds of nature peacefully stimulate the brain so that it no longer craves the hyperstimulation of electronics. In fact, research shows improvement in attention spans after time spent outside. So, get those kiddos outside this summer!
Gina Klein is a nature-loving mom and author who resides in Kansas City and loves to play outside as much as possible with her two daughters and husband.