Summertime is a great change of pace for most families. Yes, it can still be busy, for sure - but the hustle and bustle is a little more pleasant when you're talking about pool days, summer camps, vacations, zoos, play dates, summer sports, and fairs and festivals. You might even get a little more time to relax than during the school year, if you're lucky!
But I have found that while we all need that change of pace, summers actually can be harder on parents. For example, my guard is constantly up as I place my daughter into the care of summer camp counselors, other parents, carnival ride operators, coaches, etc. Whereas at school, the rules are set down in black and white and adhered to every day, camp rules may be different, if not lax. Safety should still be a priority, but I have found it might be compromised in favor of convenience or simply a shift to the "summer" paradigm.
Trips to pools, rivers, oceans and lakes require constant, total vigilance because it only takes a minute for a child to drown. I am on Hyper Alert mode around water, and it seems I can never really relax unless I know another adult is "on duty," watching my 6-year-old.
I mentioned the carnival rides because I had a freaky experience at a local fair last summer when, in an instant, the huge bouncy castle collapsed on about eight kids, including mine. Someone had knocked the air hose out. Another mom and I dove in and tried to hold the top up and pull toddlers and preschoolers out by their legs and arms. My daughter and another girl were in an air pocket in the back corner against the mesh wall. Great, except I didn't know that, and as each second passed I grew more panicky, envisioning her trapped and suffocating somewhere just out of my reach. Meanwhile, the carnival worker stood by and did nothing.
An increase in long car trips and outdoor pursuits means an increase in risk for accidents. I have already run out of Band-Aids and it's only June! Of course, my daughter requires one for every little scratch and often looks like her whole body is patched together with princesses and Dora. What's worse is if she has a boo-boo, she balks at bathing.
And I find it so much more difficult to limit junk food and stick to a bedtime routine in the summer!
But having said all of that, we are so blessed here in the Ohio Valley to have so much to offer families in the summertime. Check out our calendar (pages 24-28) to see what I mean!
And, just so I don't seem like such a Summer Scrooge, here are my FAVORITE things about the season:
- eating watermelon and corn on the cob,
- drinking coffee on the porch in the morning,
- attending outdoor concerts,
- watering and weeding my flower beds,
- vacationing at the beach,
- enjoying several hours of daylight after getting home from work,
- wearing flip-flops (never thought I'd say that - I used to hate them!),
- not having to bundle up my daughter to go outside,
- watching my daughter enjoy the great outdoors, not the least of which includes going to the pool; a genuine, ear-to-ear grin never leaves her face at the pool, and
- boat trips on Piedmont Lake.