Thoughts from Janice – Summer Fun



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Across the country children are throwing their backpacks off in reckless abandon, stripping down to swimsuits and getting wet in pools, lakes and sprinklers.

Would you believe when I was in grade 8 we actually commandeered the school PA system to play Pink Floyd’s We Don’t Need No Education. It was a real John Hughes moment. Even the most dedicated students’ hearts sing at the thought of 62-plus days of summer.
But if you’re like me, that 62-plus day stretch is nothing less than panic-inducing. How will you avoid your children turning into mush without the structure the school year brings?
My husband and I both agree that our kids need a break from that structure, for sure, but after a couple of weeks, we sometimes find ourselves checking the calendar.
Between grandparents and camp, I’ve covered off almost half of the summer. For the other half of the summer, whether it’s family time or otherwise, I follow these summer survival tips.

  • Assign one chore a day – It helps my kids focus and they really can’t complain when all I’ve asked them to do is one thing.
  • Hit the road – Day trips bring us all together and don’t cost much. We can’t bring ourselves to putting in a DVD player in the car (“look out the window, that’s what we did!”) but we do try to make the ride feel shorter with custom-made car bingo. Get a napkin from the floor of your car and sketch out a grid. Fill it in with names of things you know you’ll see on your ride (various stores, flags, outdoor clocks, strange signs etc.) The kids check off the list as they see them.
  • Limit the sleep-ins. I mean really, how much sleep do they need?
  • Limit the sleepovers.  Every once in a while, a kid’s got to sleep in her own bed.
  • Empty their lunch bags from the last day of school. Trust me, you’ll forget and come September, the lunch bag will be walking itself to school.

Looking for more ways to celebrate summer? Look no further than the June/July issue of ParentsCanada on newsstands now. It includes:

  • summer festivals from coast to coast to coast
  • delicious dishes for your grill, including new campfire classics
  • trail mix ideas for day trips
  • rainy day activities to help you enjoy the rain
  • new ways to get fit while you’re at the playground

Published in June 2010

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