The kids are home for the summer in just a few days now! While the prospect of 10 weeks with no homework and no scheduled days seems exciting to the kids, it’s not quite the same for me as their mom. I need to keep in mind that we’ll be doing a lot of activities, and going on day trips and other adventures (and the kids don’t know it yet, but a cruise as well),which means all kinds of new messes and germs, and schedules and routines. Add a lack of routines and no schedules, and ten weeks is sounding like a very, very long time. 10 weeks can go by very fast or very slow, and we all should look for summer survival tips for parents.
More outside time, more playing in the dirt, swinging on the swings, swimming, sprinklers, bike riding…it all adds up to a little more mess and… more germs. While I don’t necessarily love the dirt rings in my tub and the filthy laundry, I do believe that summer is for playing outside and getting dirty! I just have to be prepared and do what I can to keep those germs at bay. You know, because even if it hasn’t yet–Sick just got real. ™ This blog post is sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.
But, as a mom, I have tips & tricks under my belt, just in case those germs invade, so I can get the kids back to doing what they do best- playing.
Summer Survival Tips for Parents
Send the kids outside. O U T S I D E. Supervise them LESS. Let them DO more. SO what if they make a puddle into a mud bath? They’ll get clean eventually. Plus, doesn’t mud work as a natural sun barrier? It’s good for them, and it’s good for you to let them be unstructured for a while.
Wash hands often. This kind of seems like a no brainer, but I see lots of kids kind of letting this slide in summer. Maybe they like having grits of sand in their food from under their fingernails, but I don’t.
Set ground rules about licking things. Examples include: We don’t lick toads. Or frogs, lizards, snakes, chickens, lobster tanks or swimming pool ladders. We lick popsicles and ice cream cones. Maybe a lollipop or two. Maybe make up a funny song about this so your little ones can remember it. Unfortunately, there are kids like this out there in the world (mine) who have licked various animals and surfaces that no one should ever think about licking, so cover your bases and set some guidelines before it happens TO YOU.
Kick off flip-flops before you walk into the house. Or sneakers. Or sandals. No shoes in the house. That’s more vacuum time for the vacuum-er in the house, anyway and that’s no fun. We want parents to survive.
Clean the tub more frequently. More time outside, especially in flip-flops and sandals, means dirtier legs and feet. That means more bath and shower time, which means more dirt and grime in the tub. So, we clean it more frequently. You can use natural cleaners and toss some of the kids’ toys in, and the kids will do it all for you! Plus their toys are clean. Winning!!
Wear sunscreen. I know. It’s smart and it’ll keep your skin looking much younger when you turn 42 like me. If your kids will wear hats, they should wear them.
Don’t go barefoot in public restrooms. It’s just…gross. And at a pool? Where little kids may sprinkle when they tinkle or… worse? That’s on the floor. DO YOU WANT TO WALK IN THAT? Nope. Plus, bodily fluids attract germs. Your feet, especially in summer, are like germy dirt magnets inviting all the germs to the stinky sweaty foot party!! Flip-flops. Wear them. All the time. The whole 10 seconds to get them on your feet or your child’s is so totally worth it.
Have a well-stocked first aid kit in the house and in the car, or backpack, if you are hiking a lot, or biking. All the little cuts and scrapes the kids get along the way open the door for germies… so if you have a first aid kit on hand to clean the wounds (even a spritzing bottle with a mild soap and water mix) and cover them with a bandage, you’re ahead of the game. Awesome character-themed bandages are 1000% optional. (That said, fun bandages can make for hours of play with the kids, but be warned, once you buy the fun ones, you aren’t going back to plain.)
Summer Camp. YAY for camp!! I spent 10 summers at the same camp in New Hampshire. 10 summers. Do you know how many years I caught a bug while I was at camp? 10. Camp is awesome. But, maybe review some basic hygiene reminders before they go. Communal living spaces at camp are awesome, amazing and super fun, and are often germ-filled. Even day camps are prime breeding grounds for germs. SO…when they bring their soap dish/toothbrush holder home or their water bottles, give them a good wash with hot, soapy water and a good scrub. Every day.
Keep activities on hand for rainy days because children become like wild, untamed children raised in a jungle in a country four time zones away by mid-July. If they have nothing to do on a rainy day that is too filled with lightning to go outside, it won’t matter what you have done to ward of germs or boredom because YOU WILL GO CRAZY and they will drive you there. Keep some tricks up your sleeve. New books, a new game, craft supplies, a toy set, it doesn’t matter. Have them. Keep some top secret rainy day things to do. Know where the $1 movies are playing and on what days. Or which days the museums have art classes or crafts going on. The alternative is scary.
Squirt Guns- always, always have them on hand. Or squirty critters if you don’t like the guns. Why? Because they are FUN and sometimes you just need to have some fun. Don’t leave water sitting in them though, gross- make sure if you do by accident that you clean them out with a vinegar/water mix! I might even suggest that a good, old-fashioned water fight is good for stress relief. This is all about getting parents to survive the summer, you guys. I am sure there’s someone, someplace who would say that stress relief helps keep you healthier! Note: Water balloons are an acceptable squirt gun alternative. Also, do both. Maybe not in a white shirt.
Check the medicine cabinet in the house. Yes, it’s summer and there’s not as many colds and flu bugs going around, but as I write this, my 6 year old tested positive for Influenza A strand this afternoon, and the pediatrician hasn’t seen any flu in at least 8 weeks. We Martins like to be different. Thankfully I’d gone through things when I was spring cleaning and made sure that out of date medications were tossed/disposed of and anything that we were super low on (Children’s Advil®, for one) I replenished the supply for. Never let the supplies run out. You’ll lose the battle.
A prepared mom or dad is well-armed, and ready to face the battle of summer. A well prepared mom or dad is well-stocked and ready to battle the germs of summer, and survive until school starts again. Bring it on, summer vacation.
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