Summer is in full swing! Some parents are like, “Woot! Woot!” while others are like, “Come on, September!” Which one are you? Even if you can’t wait to see that school bus pull up, admit it. Wouldn’t you like to pause time just a few more minutes to enjoy the kids, the sun, the season? Some parents choose to hire extra help so all hands are on deck, so to speak. Others embrace the fully-open schedule with at least partially-open arms. Before you pull out what is left of your hair, here are a few helps:

Step back and get perspective – don’t rush a good thing, and summer is a good thing, almost as good as childhood. Yes, stuff still needs to get done, but prioritize what’s important. Kids grow up quickly, so make this summer count.

Schedule something fun – yes, regularly schedule something into your kids’ lives for summer so they have a fun thing to look forward to, like swim, gymnastics or tennis lessons or summer camp at the zoo!

Be open to changes – don’t be glued to your schedule. Rigid is memorable, but not in a good way, so be flexible and go with the flow of summer when opportunities happen.

Try something different – traditions are great, but sometimes different is better. Try a yoga class or sign up your kids for summer children’s theatre. Go just outside your comfort zone and push your kids to do the same. Memorable things will happen.

Do stuff at home – rediscover family time at home. Planting flowers or vegetables and caring for a garden is a great way to bond as a family during the summer. Plus you will grow fantastic, fresh foods to cook and enjoy together too!

Be open to a day off – who doesn’t love a snow day, right? Summer brings rain days or thunderstorm afternoons, so make the best of it. Savor the down-time when it rains or is stormy, even if your outdoor plans are on hold for a bit.

Play some games – checkers, chess, chutes and ladders for inside and corn hole, ladder ball and croquet for the yard. Challenge the kids to beat you or offer to play the winner and let the fun begin!

Watch movies together – not more screen time! True, kids are on electronics enough, with cell phones, ipads and youtube, not to mention regular television. When it’s lousy out, though, pop some popcorn (we have a real air popper) and enjoy a family or a classic movie together.

Take walks (yes, outside!) – beware of the bugs, but get outdoors! Take a morning or early evening walk, before the mosquitoes are on duty. Make a regular route around your property, neighborhood or block. Take the kids with you, so everyone can relax and talk even more than around the dinner table (or picnic table).

Document this time with the kids – yup, time flies, so take a picture. Upload them somewhere so they are not lost when your phone is. One fun way I have been documenting summers with my youngest daughter for a few years is to keep an ongoing letter, or journal, between her and us. A few times each week, she writes Dear Mom and Dad letters and we reply in a notebook dedicated to this summer. I started it with my youngest son this summer, since he just finished kindergarten. I know these will be full of cherished memories for my golden years and later, theirs.

Think back to your fondest memories of childhood summers. Sunshine, fresh air, beaches, friends, food. Maybe some of that magic could be re-created by a savvy and resourceful parent such as yourself. No, not at Disney, at home! So maybe every idea isn’t for you. Pick and choose, start from the top, do your favorite or make up your own. Take a breath though, and enjoy what you have rather than wish for what you don’t. Take off a few extra days to do a family thing, even if it’s a stay-cation. Enable your kids to be kids for just one more season.

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