Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Summer Fun

Freeze Your Phone, Eat Your Popsicle: A Mother's Advice for Summer Fun

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


Bare feet, wet hair, sandy bottoms, and popsicle-stained smiles...these are telltale signs. Parents be warned: there will be mess making (by choice and by happenstance), there will be separation anxiety (from your phones and your routine), and there will be crying (for more!). Summer is upon us. Here are some tried and true tips to ensure it’s fun!

Go on an Adventure NOT a Vacation

Vacation implies an escape. Why run from your troubles or stresses, you know they will only be waiting for you when you return. Seek adventure. Explore something or someplace new, down the street or hundreds of miles away. Experiencing new things together as a family bonds us together and provides new perspective which, quite arguably, is better than any souvenir you’d bring home from a vacation.

Come Prepared for Everything and Open to Anything

A little spontaneity goes a long way, but if you have small children you know there are certain things you cannot leave home without, especially during summer. Keep a pre-packed bag in your car of essentials such as diapers, wipes, sunscreen, non-perishable snacks, and a change of clothes -- whatever your children may need, you know best. Now you’re ready at a moments notice, and can say “Yes!” next time your kids want to make an impromptu stop at the splash park or favorite local attraction. Or better yet, surprise them with your own inspired detour to fun.

Leave All Electronic Devices at Home, Bring the Camera

But wait, you just said come prepared?! Phones, tablets, etc. should be left behind (or at least turned off). I know, I know, you’re an adult, you have responsibilities and someone ‘important’ may call. They can wait. The ones who matter most are with you, they deserve your full attention and you deserve to live in the moment. Opt to bring your camera instead (You know that thing you used to take photos before mobile phones became so “smart”). With your eyes focused on the sights around you (not on a screen), you’ll truly unplug and be there to capture every second with your heart, and your camera.

Let Your Kids Be Kids and Set Your Inner Child Free

Whether on summer break or just enjoying the sunshine-filled days of the season, this summer let your children act, well, childish (Read: Mud pies are an acceptable snack and milk is best drank with a straw for making bubbles). While you’re at it, act like a child yourself. Wear your beach towel like a cape and transform into a superhero, build a fort and host a camp-out in the living room, toss some crayons and paper on the floor and start coloring, refresh with a juice box or Popsicle (extra points for a blue tongue or red lips), and enjoy the simple pleasures of being a kid with your favorite kid(s).

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Summer days are long. At the end of each day, wind down, clean up, eat well, and get a good night sleep. Tomorrow you get to do it all over again!

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.