It’s summer vacation, which means we have to figure out how to keep our little ones entertained during the day, when they would normally be in school. Going to the park is always a great option, but there are bound to be more parents and kids at these parks, so if you’re venturing out to the playground this summer, here are some tips and tricks to help you stay sane.
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Go Early or Late
This strategy works for two reasons. First, if you go to the park soon after sunrise or not long before sunset, there will be fewer people. The temperatures will be lower — which is a perk during the hot summer months — and it’s better for your skin. Prime sun hours fall between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To prevent sunburns, you should avoid being out during these hours.
Just make sure you bring bug spray. These early and late hours are mosquito feeding hours, so take advantage of the cooler weather in the morning or the evenings, but make sure you’re safe from mosquito bites.
If you drink caffeine, in any form, this is one of the best tips we can offer for helping you retain your sanity during summer vacation — don’t run out. No one likes dealing with Mommy before she has her coffee in the morning, just like none of us like facing the day before we’ve been sufficiently caffeinated.
Take some steps to ensure that you always have a source of caffeine in your home if you need it, especially during the summer. If a cup of hot coffee is too much to take during these hot summer months, opt for some cold brew or iced alternatives!
Everyone wants to go to the pool or beach during the summer, but that requires you to be constantly aware of where everyone is. If you’ve got more than one or two children, don’t try to tackle pool time on your own — enlist some help! Bring some other mom friends, friends who don’t have kids or even recruit your younger siblings if they’re responsible enough and want to spend some time at the pool.
Water safety is everyone’s responsibility, so ensure you’re paying careful attention to everyone who’s in the water.
Set Some Ground Rules
Free play is a great way for kids to get their energy out, and can even help them develop a lot of skills that will serve them well throughout their lives, but you should certainly set some ground rules before you head to the playground. Not only will this help you increase safety on the playground for your children, it will make it safer for everyone who’s playing on the equipment.
They don’t have to be comprehensive rules, but simple rules like using the equipment properly can help keep everyone safe without interfering with their play.
Go to the Gym
This tip isn’t just to help you keep your sanity — it can help keep you fit, too. Keeping up with your exercise regimen can help you stay both healthy and sane, especially if your gym offers childcare. Take the chance, whenever you can, to take a break and make a little time for yourself. It doesn’t have a lot to do with the playground, but it can help keep you sane throughout the summer months.
Stick to a Schedule
Your kids are already used to being on a schedule during the school year — they have to get up and go to bed at the same time every day. While you don’t need to keep a strict schedule during the summer, keeping them on some sort of schedule can make it easier to transition back into the school year once August or September rolls around.
Even if all you do is schedule your daily trip to the playground, you’ll help keep your kids ready for the upcoming school year, while they still get to enjoy their summer vacation.
The whole point of summer vacation is to have fun, for you and for the kids. Don’t sit on the sidelines and watch your kids play — get involved. Go run, jump and play with them. They won’t be little for long, so enjoy it while they still are, before they decide they’d rather stay home and play Candy Crush on their cell phones than go out and have fun with Mom.
Summer vacation can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to drive you crazy. Set some ground rules, pick the best times to head to the playground, and enjoy it with them. We’ve used these tips and tricks for years to help keep ourselves sane during school vacation until our kids outgrew playing with us. Enjoy all the time you get to spend with them, even if they drive you a little crazy sometimes.