How to Connect with your Kids over Summer

Summer is here.   It is officially here but not just because it is over 90 degrees most days in Virginia Beach and has been for the last month.  Or because we have already begun the nightly ritual of taking the kids swimming or even because the smell of grilled food is wafting through my neighborhood.  For me the beginning of Summer starts when my kids get out of school and for us that is this week.

My family will be busy this Summer with plenty of trips to the beach (15 minute trip), and afternoons at the pool, we will also go to the Outer-banks of North Carolina a few times, head to Pennsylvania and Upstate New York, an amusement park, and a few other places, but busy days do not guarantee that you and your kids will enjoy the Summer.  It does not guarantee that you use the time connecting with you kids.

I am that mom that is purposeful during the Summer.  Don’t get me wrong, we have tons of fun but I am a thinker and I think through where we will go, what to bring, what place will benefit my kids with experiences they will always remember and sometimes I get caught up in the details or taking my kids to these great places that I forget to experience the fun with my kids.

So my challenge to all you mommies is this- Find ways to be engaged with your kids this Summer.  They will remember the times you played with them for years to come.  They will not remember that you drove them to the pool fifty times, but they will remember the things you did with them.  When you were hands on and you stripped away your adulthood in lieu of cutting loose and having some real fun.

Here are ways you can connect with your kids this Summer and make memories you and your kids will cherish.

1.  Swim with your Kids– Play games in the water with your kids- Sharks and Minnows, Marco Polo, and any other game.  Even a swim race across the pool.  It is simple, but lots of us moms sit on the side line.  Hey even take a lap through the sprinkler when your kids are cooling off- believe me the giggles you will hear will be worth the soggy flip flops.

2. Dig in the Dirt– Go ahead and get your fingers dirty.

3.  Play Games

4.  Try Something New–  Take your kids to do something fun that you have never been.  Don’t let your inexperience keep you from introducing something to your kids.  Go camping, fishing, crabbing, or canoeing.  Go ahead you can do it.

5.  Sing songs– Sing classic or new songs in the car with your kids on a road trip or around a campfire.

6. Let your Kids Participate– Do you enjoy cooking or taking pictures or painting?  Do you ever let your kids give it a try?  If not, now is the time to do so- I let my kids help make muffins, pancakes, dinner meal, and other dishes.

7.- Get Crafty– whether you have a creative or crafty bone in your body or not- pull out the construction paper, glue, markers, tape and string and let your kids make something.  But be the example of someone who gets in there and makes something.  Have fun and be creative- you do have it in you.

At the end of the day it is about getting down on your child’s level, putting your hands in the sand or dirt, and letting go.  Let go of the mom worries, and housekeeper qualms for a little while and experience the joy of life.  The other day my middle son, said mom you never get in the pool at Grandma’s house- its been like a year.”  I realized I was not connecting with my kids at the pool.  I always had a reason- my mascara will smear, or I was going to relax.  I realized I was sending the wrong message and I jumped right in with both feet.

It okay to take a little mommy time, but you have to have some fun time with your kids too.  So put down that dish towel and take the Summer Plunge.  The memories you and your child make will truly last a lifetime!