There’s a lot to love about summer vacation: the kids are out of school and we all get to enjoy long sunshine-filled days, trips to the beach, summer festivals and endless fun. But in all the doubling up on family time, it’s easy to forget that we still need a little time to decompress and give ourselves some self-care. It’s often the difference between a happy hectic house and an unhappy one. So take a bath, read a book, catch up with a friend, whatever you’ve been meaning to do. A few hours to yourself can leave you feeling rested, reinvigorated, and ready to be the best parent you can be. How do you do that? Let your kids play on their own.
Sometimes we worry about the “what ifs” when we’re not around. But giving children room to be unsupervised builds confidence and teaches them to problem solve. Think back to when you were younger. There seemed to be hours on end of kids-only time. What happened to that? Giving your children the same trust and space will only help them to learn and grow. And don’t worry, if things get real they’ll be the first to shout, “Mom! Dad!”
Try some of the following activities that kids can do on their own, so you can be on your own too.
- Collecting + Painting rocks: the backyard, courtyard, or schoolyard are all perfect for sourcing smooth stones. Your kids can sit outside, splay out some newspaper, and paint away.
- Target Practice: have them draw a target with different rungs and point values on a brick wall or wooden fence and use water balloons to ready, aim, splash!
- Recycled Art: with items found only in the recycling bin, make wind chimes or something abstract, perhaps.
- Sidewalk Scenes: how cool was it when Mary Poppins, Bert, and the Banks children jumped into the chalk drawings? Well, with smart phone photo taking, you can be “in” them. Have your kids draw scenes from their favorite movies and books and take photos of themselves as their favorite characters!
- Han(g) Solo: let them figure it out for themselves. Kids benefit meaningfully from unstructured, unguided free time. Remember when we were young and our parents said, “go play outside?” We got up to lots of things! And we still have all of our limbs!
Whatever you decide to do, remember that there’s a lot they can do without you.
Enjoy your me-time.