1. Be adventure ready. Pack a small tote with your summer essentials that you can leave in the car or in your garage ready to access at the first sight of adventure. Include the basics – think sunscreen, hats, blankets, water bottles and snacks.
2. Blackout curtains are your new best friend. The long summer days with the sun still shining late into the evening completely throws our body clock off. As melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle is only produced when it gets dark. This summer make getting those extra zzzs a breeze with blackout blinds. Not only will it help you sleep better but also it will help get the little ones to bed on time too.
3. Zen out. Summer is often filled with plenty of downtime, but it can also be busy with a buzzing social calendar. Ground yourself in a quiet meditation practice each day. Studies show that even meditating for 20 minutes a day can change the volume of gray matter in your brain in as little as eight weeks. This translates to feeling less stressed. To start, sit in a comfortable position, focus on your breath and let your thoughts come and go. Try meditating for five minutes a day and eventually build up to 20 minutes.
4. Shield yourself from the sun. Not all sunscreens are created equal, in fact, chemical-based sunscreens are known hormone disruptors and can have negative long-term side effects on the body. They’re also destroying the coral reef and because of this Hawaii has banned them. Look for mineral-based sunscreen with zero fragrance. My favourites are Thinkbaby and Goddess Garden Organics.
5. The library is the place to be. You don’t need to sign your kids up for expensive summer camps, the library has tons of free activities to choose from along with a summer reading challenge. So go for storytime and pick out a summer read for you and your little ones. Fun fact: if your children see you reading they are more likely to be readers themselves.
6. Make it a screen free summer. Given the chance, most kids will want to play rather than sit in front of a screen all day. So take away the screens altogether and instead provide other fun options. Make a lemonade stand, do a puzzle together, dust off the board games, go for a picnic, run through the sprinkler, do crafts or visit the farmer’s market. Here are 50 more great ideas.
If your kids aren’t on board try this. Set guidelines for screen time, so maybe they can watch 20 minutes a day or while visiting a friend’s house. Try moving the TV out of a prominent location in the house so it’s not easy to access. Get them involved. Let them know you’re cutting down (or cutting out) screen time and ask them for solutions on what they would like to do instead. Use their ideas to get them on board.
7. Plan a day trip. Staying overnight can be tough with kids. The packing, the unpacking and the organizing involved to stay overnight sometimes isn’t worth it. Instead, go for just the day. Drive out at naptime and come home at bedtime. Bring pajamas to make the transition from car to bed even easier.
8. DIY frozen treats. Who doesn’t love the sound of the ice cream truck driving through the neighbourhood? I’m all for indulging once in a while but making healthy frozen treats is fun and easy. Use fruit purees, cacao powder and coconut milk, or even lime juice and club soda. Don’t forget to use a cupcake liner at the end of the popsicle stick to catch drips. Here are some amazing recipes.
9. Have a ladies night. It’s so easy to get caught up in summer camps, and family gatherings, that we tend to forget to have some good old-fashioned fun with friends. So put on that eyeshadow, a little black dress and have a night on the town. Go to the karaoke bar where everyone used to know your name, watch a live comedy show or check out a local music festival. You deserve to have some fun Mama.
10. Be picky with your bug spray. What we put on our skin, our largest organ, is so very important. Do your research on bug sprays and try a more natural alternative such as essential-oil based bug sprays.
11. The only hat trick you need. You only have to take one quick look around the playground to see most kids without hats. That was my kids until we did this. Instead of plopping a hat on their head we took them shopping and let them choose their own. Since then it’s easier to get them to wear their hats for most of our time outdoors.
12. Make a summer bucket list. There is so much going on around town that it’s important to plan what you and your littles will enjoy most. Love animals? See when there’s a pop-up petting zoo. Want to go white water rafting? Find out when and where that’s available. Grab the family, a pen and a notebook and make a top ten list of the activities you all want to do this summer. Make sure everyone has a say. Print and post the list in the family room and let the little ones check off things after you’ve done them.
Click here to get all of these hacks in a downloadable PDF along with a printable summer bucket list template. You’ll also receive my Ultimate Simplicity Course for free!
13. Go out for dinner every night. And by out, I mean outside. Take mealtimes outdoors. You will have fewer crumbs to clean up, more fresh air and this is an easy way to reduce screen time.
14. Watch the sunset. Once a week, take some blankets and pillows outside and cuddle with your little loves to watch the sunset. Take turns sharing the favourite part of your day to cultivate good feelings. Spend time staring at the clouds and stars, finding little animals, and shapes like you used to in summers long, long ago.
15. Create a hygge box. There will be rainy days. Take a page from the Danish practice of Hygge (creating cozy feelings and contentment by slowing down and enjoying the simple things) and create a cozy box. Place games, books, and crafts in a box that you can bring out to keep the kids busy on a gloomy day.
16. Bring back the summer potlucks. Hosting parties can be exhausting. Instead, take the party to the park or make it a backyard bbq where every guest brings a dish. You pick the place and bring the essentials like dishware and beverages, and have the guests pitch in with the rest.
17. Make time for a date night. Steamy summer nights might be a thing of the past but fit in a date night or two. Go sit on a patio and reminisce about days past or watch a movie under the stars. Rekindle the romance with a kid-free evening even if it’s sitting in your backyard with a glass of wine after the littles have gone to bed.
18. Take a staycation. Vacations can be a lot of work with little ones so enjoy the long summer days and stay in town instead of taking a hectic and expensive trip. Drop the kids off at camp and take a day for yourself, or organize the homestead and check off those pesky items that have been on your to-do list forever.
19. Pamper yourself. Be sandal and beach ready. Go for a pedicure or give your feet a little pampering with a DYI spa session. Use a foot file, slather on a luxurious foot cream and pull on those comfy socks. Keep the socks on while you sleep and voila, in the morning you will have baby soft heels. And you’ll be ready for your fabulous footwear.
20. Make your own iced tea. Use this recipe for the perfect brew of iced tea every time. Boil two cups of water, steep three to five tea bags in it for five minutes, add two cups of cold water, agave or maple syrup and lemon slices. Pour into a pitcher, refrigerate and you’re all set.
21. Declutter those closets. Before you start back to school shopping go through your kid’s closets and gather all of the clothes that are worn out or too small. Recycle or donate them before you even consider buying more. Or swap with friends if your children are a year or two apart. New doesn’t have to be your go to.
22. Reserve a plot in a community garden. Inquire at your local community centre about a community garden where you can reserve a plot for your family. It’s a great way to teach your kids about how food grows and a wonderful family summer activity.
23. Be fit, and have fun. Take your run, workout or yoga routine to the park. Even try to squeeze in a workout while your little ones play at the park or run around your backyard.
24. Visit a spray park. Try a spray park this summer instead of only hitting the pool. No water wings, life jackets or floatables required.
25. Take a social media break. We only have 18 summers with our kids before their all grown up so turn off the cell phones and close the social media apps. Try it for an hour, a day or if you can manage the whole weekend. The gift of time and being present is the best thing you can give your kids this summer.
Get these hacks in a downloadable PDF guide along with a printable summer bucket list template.
You’ll also receive my Ultimate Simplicity Course for free!