August is here, and summer is on the way out. As the weather starts to cool, the kids head back to school and the fun and bonding of summer drifts away until the holiday season starts. Taking these last few weeks or days, depending on when school is back in session, is important. It sets the tone for the rest of the year. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to end the summer on the right note, check out our list below!
1. Dedicate Family Night
Decide on one night a week that will be dedicated to family activates. This can be pretty much anything you all like to do together, like a family walk, movie night or card games. The idea is to have one night each week when you simply spend time together. Fostering this bond with your kids and partner helps create a solid foundation to get everyone through rougher times.
2. Go Camping
A night out with no TV, phones or computers can do wonders for your relationships. Real camping is both cheap and amazing. All you need is a tent, sleeping bags, food and clothes. The rest is optional. The combination of fresh air and exercise is great for adults, and it’s the best recipe to get the kids to zonk out early. There are plenty of other health benefits of camping as well, so pack up and get going.
3. Take Pictures
Adults aren’t the only ones who like to take pictures. Kids have a unique perspective of the world, both from their height and the things they find interesting. Give the kids an old digital camera and let them be in charge of the pictures for a few days. You might be surprised at the images they get. Plus, it gives the kids a creative outlet. You never know who might turn out to be the next Ansel Adams!
4. Craft A Time Capsule
A summer time capsule can be an amazing thing to create with the whole family. The time capsule idea is pretty simple and easily customizable. You can select a certain number of things for each family member to put in and plan on when to open it. You can do it in 10 years or just at the start of the next summer. Then you can get everyone together to go over the things you saved from last year – or last decade.
5. Make Time To Play
These are the last days of free time your kids will have for a while. Especially if your kids are younger, play is vitally important. It’s how they learn. More than anything, though, absolute free play is the best opportunity for them to engage in. Since schools nationwide are reducing playtime for kids, allowing them the opportunity to play at home is even more important. It benefits their physical, mental and emotional development, so there’s really no downside. Besides, kids only learn how to play on their own when they get the chance to practice!
6. Teach Kids to Cook
Cooking is both a bonding experience and a life skill. Everyone benefits from learning to cook, and having the kids able to make dinner means there are nights where it isn’t the parents’ responsibility! Learning to cook also helps kids learn about food, which gives them a better, healthier relationship with it.
7. Put the Kids in Charge
Kids do what adults want all day long. On occasion, it’s nice to let them be in charge. Explain that for a day, or an hour, the kids get to make the decisions. Adults are still in charge of safety, of course, but everyone does what they decide. In the case of multiple kids, they either have to work together to figure it out, or take turns choosing. It gives them a sense of control and lets you see what they really want to do.
8. Choose a Hobby
Finding a fun activity that everyone can do is great fun and promotes a wonderful, loving atmosphere. This is a bit different from a family night, because you don’t always have to do it at the same time. Things like working out or geocaching are both fun activities, and it gives everyone something to grab a partner and go do.
9. Decide Not to Do Anything
Your family is about to get busy again. School for seven or eight hours a day, homework and extracurricular activities will eat up most of their time and energy. Give everyone in the house some time to do nothing. No electronics or work, just whatever kind of nothing you like to do. The downtime will help everyone to feel more prepared for whatever comes next.
10. Set Weekly Family Goals for the School Year
Finally, try to keep the family connection going throughout the school year. It’s easy to get busy and forget to make that connection daily, so make it easy on yourselves. Make it a family goal and work it into your schedule, to have some regular time to get together.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter too much what you decide to do. The important thing is being together as a family!
About the Author
Jennifer Landis is a 27-year-old healthy living blogger who loves yoga, running, and dancing it out with her toddler! You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama, or by following her on Twitter: @jenniferelandis.