Summertime might mean a fun vacation with the family, kids in sports leagues or at camps, and visits from extended family. Fun stuff! It can also be a hectic, expensive time, punctuated by your kids saying, “There’s nothing to do!” Summertime can mean “quality time,” and this summer can be a summer to remember. Fun and exciting experiences create lasting memories that help you draw closer to your loved ones.
Make the most of this summertime! Here are 5 ways summertime can help your family bond:
Explore the areas around you!
You might be surprised by the fun, fascinating, and even educational things that are a short drive away. Parks and hiking trails, historical monuments, museums, concerts, summer festivals, and events are often right under our noses. You might have to pretend you’re visiting your area for the first time and search online for “Things to do near [Your Town].” You’ll be surprised by what you find!
Take a look at our Parenting Toolkit for the Best Summer Ever with your Family!
Enjoy fun and intentional quality time. Each day has an activity with a moral to the story and an opportunity to talk through the value taught. Not only will you bond over playing together, but while talking about the things that matter most to having a happy, healthy family! Here’s where you can find the Parenting Toolkit.
Routines, rituals, and structure can help your family bond!
They create an environment that is predictable and provides security. If your kids can depend on and are looking forward to the activities that happen daily and weekly, this will keep you close all summer.
For example, maybe Friday nights become pizza nights. If you’re not working from home, your kids might expect a text or call from you at noon to check in. If you’re working from home, maybe you plan to eat lunch together. Maybe you can come up with a fun summertime morning or evening tradition. (It can be as simple as going for a walk as a family.)
Give your kids unstructured playtime. (Sometimes go outside and play with them!)
According to the Gottman Institute, “Play is how kids learn all the things and develop all the stuff. This means leaving time each day for straight-up unstructured, kid-controlled, exploration of the world kind of play.” When you set aside time for your kids to take the lead, you’re actively encouraging their curiosity and imagination, demonstrating that you trust them, and helping them build character.
Other studies show that children who spend time playing outside become more adventurous and open to new experiences. These children develop skills that help them make more friends. Children use their imaginations to recreate their own world, and because of this, they’re able to hold their own attention longer.
Try new things together!
You have an opportunity to step into your kid’s passions, interests, and skills. Do they want to learn to play guitar? Let them put on a performance for you! Does the night sky interest them? Plan a constellation picnic and (tele)scope out some stars together with your favorite snacks. Do they want to work at drawing? Have an in-house art exhibition with fun snacks. Show an interest in what your kids are interested in. This is an awesome way to connect with your kids by having something to ask questions about and cultivate conversations.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money or travel far to create a memorable summer, You can be intentional and creative with your time. Enjoy making new memories together and maybe even start some new summer traditions. Have a great summer!