In hopes of encouraging more time spent unplugged, we’ve cozied up to the concept that a good old fashioned ‘80s style summer ala Stranger Things (minus that whole Upside Down thing) is just what the doctor ordered. Keep reading to see all our ideas, and guess what? This is going to be the Best. Summer. Ever.

photo: Joekelsey via Wikimedia Commons

1. Encourage round-the-clock wearing of swimsuits.

They’ll be pool or sprinkler-ready all day long, AND it works wonders on the laundry pile.

2. Replace their Nintendo Switch with an Etch-a-Sketch.

3. Introduce them to real card and board games.

It’s not a real game of Battleship if it doesn’t stay on the kitchen table for at least 72 hours of intermittent play.

photo: Elvis Batis via Flickr

4. Let them ride.

No one’s summer is complete without pedal scrapes on the insides of their ankles and a couple of scab-on-scabbed knees. Worried about free-range life in the real world? Here’s a crash course on teaching kids to make good decisions.

5. Let them watch bad TV— A lot of It.

Bonus points if it’s one of these 1980s shows that are still totally cool.

6. Teach them how to use a phone.

And then give them the number to Pizza Hut.

photo: Smabs Sputzer via Flickr 

7. Drink the Kool-Aid.

All of it. Even the ones with red food dye.

8. Two words: Tanning. Oil.

Give them a nice, glossy shellac of Banana Boat before sending them off to the pool. (SPF 35 or higher. We’re not crazy.)

9. Send them outside with sidewalk chalk and a sprinkler.

If this makes you nervous, check out these simple outdoor fun ideas to jog your memory.

10. Just Say NO

To any appointments or engagements for your kids that start before 11 a.m.

11. Put bathing really, really low on the list of things to do.

You know you’ve reached authenticity when someone’s hair turns green from the chlorine.

photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr

12. Find a grocery store with a coin-operated ride near the door.

13. Buy Calamine lotion in bulk.

Poison ivy, mosquito bites, chiggers, and other various ailments mean one thing: your kid is spending the right amount of time outdoors this summer.

14. Let them eat crackers for dinner.

Remember when your mom would be lounging with her neighborhood pals while you downed a whole sleeve of Ritz crackers right on the sidewalk?

photo: courtesy of Otter Pops

15. Keep a lot of Otter Pops in the freezer.

It wasn’t an ’80s summer without our friends Alexander the Grape and Louie-Bloo Raspberry.

16. Make sure their feet stay really, really dirty.

If by September they don’t freak out over splinters (or maybe they just don’t feel them), then you’ve done your job.

photo: Lindsey Turner via flickr

17. Ditch the haircuts, unless they happen in the kitchen.

Don’t over think this. Just go with it.

18. Stay out of their rooms for days on end.

But don’t be surprised if they hide an extraterrestrial in it.

—Shelley Massey

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