It's the time of year where kids--and teachers--can’t peel their eyes away from the clock. As each minute passes, they’re another minute closer to that sweet release: summer vacation. But while your kids are eagerly awaiting a 2 month break from homework and tests, your reality is about to change, too: no school means the kids are home more frequently. And that means less “you” time. Right?
Well, maybe not.
Summer vacation is one of the few times during the year where it is easy (or at least, easier) to get the family together for a road trip or family vacation. After all, since the kids are out of school, there’s no need to worry about missed assignments or falling behind in class. There’s no doubt that time spent together as a family is valuable.
However, if you’re a parent of school-aged kids, you’re probably used to having a bit more time to yourself, at least during normal school hours. But summer vacation changes all of that. No school means you don’t have those precious few minutes of quiet time between getting the kids out the door and heading off to work.
As much fun as it is to spend extra time together as a family during summer vacation, it's important to make sure you’re taking some time to yourself during these months, too.
Here are a few ideas:
Set Quiet Times
One easy way to make sure you’re getting enough time for yourself this summer is to set up Quiet Times for the family. Depending on how old your kids are, this could be anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour. During this time, everyone must be involved in a quiet activity. This could involve reading quietly, working on a puzzle, or drawing for the kids, and a nap, coffee, or cocktail for you. Quiet Time not only gets you some much-needed alone time, but it is also great for the kids to figure out ways to entertain themselves without Mom or Dad having to do all the leg work.
As the parent of school-aged kids, remember that if you want quiet time, so do your kids’ friend’s Mom and Dad. A great way to get some R&R is to coordinate playdates (or better yet--sleepovers) with the parents of your kids’ friends.
The beauty of this is that you’re essentially getting a free babysitter for anywhere from a few hours to a whole night! This, of course, comes with the expectation that you’ll return the favor to the other parents at some point during the summer, but isn’t that small price to pay for some peace and quiet?
Whether it is time with your spouse or going out with friends, getting some adult interaction is also considered “me time.” Coordinate with friends and arrange a babysitter to come to the house for a few hours so you and your spouse can get out of the house on a double date or just be partners in crime for a little bit. The kids will be well-taken care of, and you’ll revel in the freedom that comes with Date Night.
As the days get warmer and the sun sets later, be sure to enjoy the time with your family, but don’t forget that recharging your batteries is essential to being the best parent and spouse you can be!