“Summer Stress” is a term we’re hearing these days, referring to the idyllic version of summer that we have in our heads and how it contrasts with the busy, expectation filled, expensive, scheduled lives we often end up leading in the summer.
For most parents, the kids are home from school for three whole months. At the beginning of the summer, a parent might find himself already tired from all the end of the school year activities and struggling to get in synch with new schedules.
Here’s my take on things.
There’s a lot of financial stress about summer, because parents might want to schedule the kids into some camp experiences. Very expensive. Sitters are expensive too. I think this really calls for writing a budget and sticking to it. Local parks and rec centers offer cheap or free events for kids and families… and how about doing “trades” with other parents—fill your yard with a few extra toddlers for a day and they’ll take care of YOUR toddlers on another day???
Take a quick trip to WATER every day. Swim laps at your local lake or pool. Get the kids and YOURSELF to water even if it’s just a fountain to play near… HYDROTHERAPY!! Spend the whole day at the lake or pool whenever possible, like how parents used to do.. no cell phones, no laptops, just water and naps.
Get kids to cook. Lots of kids like to cook. Summer is an easy time to learn to cook, or even learn to GRILL. From about age 10 kids can start learning to grill….
And … if you don’t have kids of your own, consider borrowing a neighbor kid as a good “excuse” to go get ice cream in the evening… or employ those older kids to paint your garage or mow your lawn.
–Nanci Olesen is the host of “How’s the Family?” http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/programs/hows_the_family