Australia’s famously scorching summer is here. Instead of the TV remote, everyone’s fighting over whose turn it is to sit under the fan or in an air conditioned room. And let’s not forget those dreaded words the kids utter when they’re home full time- “I’m bored”. If you’re looking for parenting tips for summer to get your family through the heat wave, you’ve come to the right place!
With temperatures crossing the 40C mark, it's only natural that everyone will hit the beaches, work on their tan, go surfing or spend a day out with the family. Here are some parenting tips to make excursions and indoor activities easier and fuss-free for all.
How Do You Spend Summer With Kids?
Playdates are a great idea to socialise your kids and introduce them to other children of their own age. You’ll also get to meet their parents in parks, malls or even when they start school. If you can drop your bub off at a neighbour’s or at someone you know for supervised playdates, you too can take some time off from parenting. Remember to return the favour by alternating weekends and planning playdate activities for the times you have kids in the house.
You can keep an arts and crafts table ready with supplies, or involve them in indoor games and puzzles. Teach them to fashion things out of fabric,cotton, beads or pasta shells (for example, a necklace of sea shells collected from a recent beach trip). Consider having snackables on hand that they can safely eat. You can even have them help you make icicles by dropping cut fruits into the ice moulds and refrigerating them. It's a healthy and creative playtime snack!
Encourage a new solo hobby
A summer hobby can help your baby learn something new or pick up a different skill, like swimming, painting or collecting vintage or rare items. Give them choices in what to dabble in and experiment with is more likely to help them see it through.
Do they show an affinity for music? Or, get excited when they see their dad at the garage woodworking? Encourage your bub to participate and spend a few minutes with them to get them started until they settle into their hobby. New activities help your child channel their energy into something productive and helps to manage impulses.
Cool off at the pool
Visit the community recreation centre or organise a swim date with friends and families. The more the merrier! Just remember to put on baby hats for those times you’re out of the pool!
Use public air conditioning
If you live in a place that doesn’t have air conditioning, make the most of a trip to the mall, cinema, or library. Check ahead of time to see if a family-friendly movie is playing at the nearest cineplex and reserve your seats in advance to get the best views at discounted prices. If your family likes the great outdoors, you may enjoy cliff views or ocean breezes.
Pencil in family time
If your older ones are away, and you and your partner are at work, be sure to schedule family time when everyone’s home. Babies need frequent facetime to recognize faces and remember the association. Family time can be either indoor or outdoor. If you have a spacious backyard, you can consider installing a trampoline that your kids can jump on, or an inflatable kiddie pool to cool off in while you read on a lounge chair nearby. Keep a stack of board games ready in case of summer showers so that the family can huddle up on the dining table and play Monopoly or your favourite board game together!
Devise a sleep/wakeup routine
Nursery and school may be out, but as parents, you still need to reinforce routine. Most outdoor and all-day trips start at specific times, for which you need to be out of the house accordingly. Making your kids turn in early at night can help them sleep better and feel more rested come morning. Make sure the children are dressed in cotton and breathable material that will keep them comfortable and cool.
Practice digital minimalism
Restricting your kids’ screen time in their formative years play a pivotal role in their natural neural development. Tempting as it is to keep them quiet by handing over a phone or tablet, digital minimalism is healthier because kids can rely on their imagination to kill boredom. It also improves their creativity and ability to communicate coherently.
That being said, digital minimalism starts with the adults. Resist the urge to keep checking your phone, more so if you’re around your children. You’ll be able to pay better attention to their needs and be there wholly rather than just physically. Take an interest in the activities or projects they take up so that they know there are more entertaining alternatives than spending hours glued to mummy or daddy’s phones!
Take the learning outdoors
Get your kid(s) curious about nature by planning trail walks at National parks. Enrol them in a summer camp that rotates activities at least twice a week. Take a trip to the nursery to pick out seeds to plant and head back home to start digging! As they do the activity, pass on some trivia about the plant in question. You can also get them interested in the things that you like to do- be it woodworking, sculpting or DIY projects around the house.
Do be mindful of the outside temperature when packing snacks for them and dressing them to avoid overheating. Even if they’re just in your backyard, apply sunscreen on the arms, legs, neck and faces as a precautionary measure against sunburns and heat strokes.
Document your summer
Have your kids assist you in making a book of how the family spent the summer. You can print out pictures and paste them into an old album. Give them complete reign over the design and theme of the book. They can work together with you or solo to
9.1 Glue colored shells of pasta or ribbons around the borders of a photo frame.
9.2 Write sticky notes on pictures to document the occasion for the picture, and when and where it was taken.
You’d be one of the lucky few to be able to reminisce about your summer holidays with photographs!
Bonus: the same can be emailed or posted to extended family members staying elsewhere!
Visit libraries and galleries
Get your kids into books by taking them to the public library. You can get a membership in their name so that they can check out books. Reading contributes to their learning and helps them broaden their knowledge.
Bonus: it helps that most libraries, galleries and museums are air-conditioned, helping them stay cool while providing them an education outside the classroom!
What can parents do over the summer?
Parents need time to themselves as well. Some activities parents can enjoy over the summer include;
- Going out on date nights and calling a sitter or childminder in. Parents can keep a remote eye on the house by installing nanny cams inside a toy or in the children’s rooms.
- Planning trips and playdates at parks, beaches and barbecues.
- Involving their children in social and volunteering activities within the community- such as a charity walk.
- Visiting the elderly and volunteering time to care for sick and older patients.
- Teaching kids how to use public transport systems available.
- Enrolling children for after-school activities in sports, arts or drama.
How can I make the most of the summer with my kids?
You can make the most of the summer with your kids by
- Involving them in projects inside and outdoors.
- Teaching them to work with their hands and demonstrate how things work- such as gardening, painting the fence, clearing the rain gutters.
- Planning meals and making dishes with them. Let them pick out a recipe or provide instructions as you mix and whisk.
- Taking them out on trail walks, going camping or even for some cuddle time with the local animal rescue shelter.
- Going birdwatching or stargazing (bring an encyclopaedia along for the harder questions they are bound to ask!).
- Treating them to movies and an ice cream sundae.
- Scheduling playdates with children their age.
- Going bowling or spending time at the arcade.