We’ve just finished up what felt like a summer that lasted 32234 months here in Australia, and I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to make it through. Not only did we have to survive summer with energetic kids, we did so while renovating our house and living in a studio style room (that means all 4 of us living and sleeping in one room).
It’s been full on, it’s been crazy, and I may or may not have lost my shiz a few times. BUT… we survived. And we learned a few things along the way.
As our friends on the other side of the world move into summer now, we thought we should impart some of our learnings onto you so hopefully, you can manage a whole lot better than we did, and not have to get to halfway through summer before getting into the swing of things.
So here are some ways you can survive summer with energetic kids, so that they and you both have amazing summer memories and not end up rocking back and forth in the corner.
1 – Get Outside
It’s summer, the weather is beautiful (or sweltering hot) and soaking up those summer rays is so beneficial for everyone. Not only does getting outside allow your kids to run around like crazy, but it also gives them a big boost in Vitamin D, and helps boost their mood too (aka less tantrums… in theory).
Be sure to have plenty of hats and sunscreen on hand because the one thing that will destroy a summer quickly is a horrible sunburn.
2 – Create ‘I’m Bored’ Jars
These are brilliant little jars that have a whole heap of ideas in them of what to do if someone says they’re bored. I like to fill ours with a mix of jobs to do and fun things to do too.
This makes the kids think a little more about coming up with ideas of their own to keep themselves entertained because they know if they go to the ‘I’m bored’ jar, there’s a chance they make get a cleaning chore instead of something fun!
You can create these using mason jars and even have your kids decorate them at the start of summer. Get your kids to come up with ideas of things to do and then you can add some to the jar as well. Fill it up with as many ideas as you can!
3 – Organise Play Dates
Play dates are a great way for you to have a little break as the kids tend to entertain themselves a little better with others around. We have a fantastic local cafe that has a great outdoor area and playground that the kids can play in. When it’s super hot, there’s an inside playroom too.
This allows the Mama’s to have a break and catch up over coffee (and cake) and the kids get to catch up with their friends and run around. We spent hours and hours here over summer and it was an absolute sanity saver.
4 – Check Out What’s Happening Locally
Summer is always great for local events, so be sure to check out your local Facebook pages or groups to see what’s happening. I’ve found that sometimes you have to scour some pages as events aren’t always advertised well, but with a little work you can plan out an event calendar for your summer!
Some local towns have awesome waterparks too that hold events, nighttime parties and so many fun things to do! Often they are free events too which is always a winner because summer activities can add up fast.
5 – Don’t Sweat The Screentime
I hear parents commenting all the time about how much screentime they allow their kids to have, and I always avoid the conversation. Because I probably allow my kids to have more screentime than they should. But you know what? It saves my sanity!
For our son, we pop Netflix on the tablet and let him watch his favourite adventure shows while having some ‘rest’ time. We’ve actually found these times to be super valuable because they are getting some much-needed downtime, without feeling like they are all couped up inside and driving us crazy.
6 – Give Yourself A Break
Summer can be very, very long and stressful if you don’t take time out for a break. Schedule in some time out for yourself, even if it means you need to put your kids into a summer program for a few days so you can have a breather.
Alternatively, organise with family or friends for a day here and there to watch the kids for you (and you can return the favour with your friend’s kids too) so you can get jobs done you need, or even better, put your feet up and actually have a bit of a summer break for yourself – even if it’s just for a few hours!
7 – Allow Them To Be Bored
There seems to be this thing where parents feel like they need to entertain their kids all the time. Maybe it’s because we get on Pinterest and see all the incredible activities on there (and pin them for later but never actually do them… or is that just me??).
Allowing your kids to be bored, or creating ‘unstructured time’ for them, is actually really good for their brain development, social skills and for their creativity. This doesn’t mean you have to ignore them when they tell you they are bored, sometimes they confuse ‘boredom’ with a need for attention from you. So you can focus on them and have a conversation with them, but then allow them space to come up with things to do for themselves.
The summer months can be so long, and sometimes I swear the heat can send kids crazy. But with a bit of planning and some preparation, you can survive summer with energetic kids and have an amazing time too! Embrace the chaos, take time for yourself and create wonderful summer memories.