In March, all of our lives changed in a big way. Schools closed for the rest of the year and parents like you were sent scrambling and forced to balance your parenting and professional lives 24 hours a day. No parenting tips could have prepared us to spend quite so much quality time cooped up with our families. We still don’t really know what to expect in the coming months. But one thing is for sure, after nearly two and a half months of playing school at home, you’re now staring down the barrel at two more months of playing summer camp counselor and you'll need even more parenting tips to get you through.
We see how hard you've worked and we commend you. The first of our parenting tips for you to celebrate a job well done. Your children will be well-prepared next year because you’ve taken their education so seriously. But we know what you’re all thinking. What in the world are we going to do with them until school starts again?
As the restrictions for going out and gathering in groups ease up, entertaining your children will become easier. However, we’re aware that many of their planned summer activities have likely been canceled. We also know that families are all committing to different levels of quarantine so our parenting tips should be taken in the context of your family values. So we’ve compiled a list of parenting tips to help your family make the most out of your quarantine summer without having to leave the house.
Spend Lots of Time in the Water
No list of parenting tips could go on without mentioning some summer fun favorites. This summer is gearing up to be just as hot as normal so you're going to want to get your kids in the water. Some of you have the benefit of a nice, big, in-ground pool to cool your children off. But even if you don’t, water play is still possible. There are plenty of options when it comes to inflatable pools for children and adults to play or lounge in.
If you’re not ready for that level of pool commitment consider purchasing an oscillating sprinkler. This is a classic, and many of you may remember playing in your front yard with one of these when you were children. And at an even lower level of commitment is handing your kids a hose and letting them go wild. Kids are creative and fun by nature, one of the most valuable parenting tips we can give you is to let go of the need to manage them and watch them learn to entertain themselves.
Cook Together as a Family
Parenting tips don't have to cost you a dime. An interesting trend we've noticed is the number of families who are cooking together for the first time. Parents and kids are baking bread and trying out new recipes together. Invite your children into the process of meal planning and preparation. One of the easiest parenting tips for getting them excited about preparing meals at home is to sit down together and plan all of your meals for the coming week. This practice makes grocery shopping easier and allows you to hear input from your kids about what food excites them.
Pick Up Some New Skills
Besides learning to bake bread and cook dinner together, what kinds of skills have your kids shown interest in learning? Does your son want to play the guitar or your daughter want to learn how to build a birdhouse? One of our best parenting tips is to empower them to dig into their interests and teach themselves something new.
Learning how to learn is a critical life skill, and can improve your child’s degree of success in the classroom. One of our most education-focused parenting tips is to sit down with your children and ask them, “what would you like to learn this summer?” You may be surprised at what they have to say. And, by all means, set some boundaries. Just because a child wants to learn how to beat every level on their favorite video game, or how many Oreo's they can eat in one day, does not mean they ought to try it. Knowing our St. Barnabas kids the way that we do, we think they’ll come up with some pretty cool ideas.
Change Your Environment
Now that you’ve been spending so much time at home you may be noticing some things that you’d like to change about your house. This is the perfect time to tackle that DIY project you’ve been dreaming about. And maybe your kids are feeling the same way about their personal space. Perhaps your daughter is ready to move on from her ballerina themed room, or your son would prefer a room layout that left more room for him to play on the floor. The execution of this and all of our other parenting tips depends upon your level of comfort. If you're up to it, consider giving your kids some autonomy over the way their room is decorated.
There is no reason that your kids can't be involved in some of the labor required to redecorate the communal areas of your home. Hand your older kids a paintbrush and let them help you repaint your living room. You might find that they actually enjoy the process!
Make House Work a Family Affair
Keeping the house clean is hard during a normal summer, but as you know this is not going to be a normal summer. Parenting tips should make parents' lives easier and this one certainly will. Give your kids some of those household tasks that are often overlooked. Cleaning fan blades, washing baseboards, and wiping down kitchen cabinets are all easy jobs that your children can help with.
Invite your children to help you clear out items from their room that they don’t need or want anymore. With more bodies spending more time inside the house you’ve probably noticed that you have more stuff than you need. Sort through each kids toys, books, and clothes and pass on the things that are taking up unnecessary space. If you all have to spend another few months in close quarters, it would be ideal for those quarters not to feel so cluttered. Most of the parenting tips on this list are pure fun, but we think keeping the house clean ought to be everyone's responsibility.
No matter how you plan to make it through the summer at home, our best parenting tips get your family outside as much as possible. Your kids are creative and fun and with enough freedom will come up with some seriously creative ways to entertain themselves in the great outdoors. If you could use some more parenting tips to get you through the summer, follow along on our blog. Enjoy this unusual summer, we look forward to seeing your kids again soon.