Chicago Suburban Family


Summer Survival for Parents

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Summer is the epitome of staying up late and sleeping in. No school means less routine and more flexibility to do whatever it is that your kids want to do. Alarm clocks get stored away for the next few months and last minute calls for breakfast are no longer needed. While summer is a fun time for everyone to let loose, it can also be an open invitation for more sibling fights and a nasty case of “I’m bored” by well-meaning kiddos who are tired of playing with their toys. Check out this list of random ideas if ‘surviving the summer’ might be more up your alley.


  1. Check out your local museums. If you live in a small town, check out neighboring towns to see what’s available. Or, if you’re fortunate enough to live in an area where there is no shortage of museums, call around to see what they’re offering for summer programs. Most, if not all museums offer some sort of summer camp or special exhibit during these out-of-school months.
  2. Stop by a local creamery. Who doesn’t love ice cream? Before you head home from the park, surprise your kids with a trip to the ice cream shop. So often, we get wrapped up in dinnertime schedules during the school year that having something sweet before supper is a no-no. Hot summer months means cold summer treats.
  3. Get your friends together for some playdates. It can be hard to work around your children’s extracurricular activities; especially if you have more than one child when it comes to pinning down specifics for playdates. Summer seems to be a more flexible time to get together so be intentional about reuniting with some old friends. It’s good for both you as the parent and your child.
  4. Swimming is your new best friend. Make it a plan to swim on a daily basis. It’s a great way to get your kid more comfortable in the water and it beats staying indoors all day trying to keep your kids off of their electronics. Take a look at the ‘Waterparks & Pools’ section in this issue for lots of great options.
  5. Depending on what part of the country you live in, you might be able to visit a few berry farms. Kids love picking their own fruit; especially when they get to eat it as they go. This is such a fun way to get your kids outdoors this summer and as a bonus, you can teach your kids how to make apple pie, blueberry pie, or even strawberry pie. Pull out some old family recipes and start a new tradition with your kids.
  6. Have a movie day. Face it. Sometimes it’s just too hot to be outside; even at the pool. Forego the usual screen time allotment for the day and set up an indoor camping pallet in your living room. Your kids will love it! Pop some popcorn and maybe even pick up a few boxes of movie theatre candy so your kids can enjoy a show from the comfort of their own home. Don’t limit it to just one movie…make a day of it.
  7. Pick a craft. You know all of those random coloring books, broken crayons, stickers, and markers lying around? Grab all of them and set up a craft station at your kitchen table. Let your kids’ imaginations run wild and you’ll quickly see just how inspirational they can be. Your child might even realize he loves drawing cartoons or your daughter might continue writing her letters that she learned in kindergarten. Don’t be afraid to pull out the crafts. A mess can always be picked up.
  8. Go for a hike. If hiking isn’t your thing, start small. Maybe you walk around your town square and play at the park or maybe you head to a creek and make a day of it with your kids. Pack a lunch and have a picnic when you’re out exploring the world. Fresh air is good for everyone and you might be surprised at what your kids find on their hike. Collect tiny rocks to paint later that day or another day. The outdoors are a great way to get your children using their imaginations.

The summer can be such a fun time to unwind with your kids but it can also be too much time for those who enjoy the structure and routine that the school months bring. Use this list as a starting point for things to do when you’re feeling like you don’t know what else to do with your kids. Summer survival doesn’t have to be a mindset every day. Think of these next few months as the best time for you and your kids to try new things while having the freedom to sleep in the next day.

By Meagan Ruffing

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