How to have the best summer EVER!

Yes we’re determined. Summer 2016 is going to be AMAZING.

Summer is there a happier word in the English language? Lazy, sunny days. The sound of children playing happily and birds chirping. Falling exhausted and happy in the door after a long day at the beach. Well, you can but dream. The reality is probably yet another rainy day, bickering bored children, and a sulky older child who refuses point blank to go to something as lame as the beach even when the rain does stop. This year our aim is for something in the middle – just call us eternal optimists.

Plan…but don’t plan too much

Children like being kept busy and they benefit from a strongly structured day, but they also need time away from a schedule. Studies have shown that free play, the sort of play that requires imagination (and usually an empty box and a random pair of shoes), is perfect for developing children’s motor skills and brains – and the sad thing is that most kids don’t get enough time to engage in creative free play. So if you have older kids, by all means book them into a couple of camps over the long summer holidays. But make sure there’s time for them to just relax and play.

Be flexible

We’re not specifically talking about the weather here, but rather the need to be flexible with all plans. Obviously, have big things like big days out and holidays planned and booked, but in terms of everyday stuff, have a rough idea in your head of how you would like the day to go, but have alternatives in your head and be prepared to change plan if needs be at a moment’s notice.

Have some me time

Stop laughing now. There are two strategies here – firstly, accept all offers and take unexpected me time gratefully when its offered. Secondly, when you’re thinking about the week ahead, make sure you schedule in some time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be long or expensive, just a little time to give you some head space and make you remember you.

Get adventurous

Kids naturally love adventure and they love the outdoors. Don’t be thinking about mud and rain and cold and wind – invest in some boots and waterproofs for everyone, and get out there and climb a mountain. Ireland is full of stunning nooks and crannies for you to explore. Too rustic for you? Go looking for Shrek and the Gruffalo in your local woods or parks. Older kids will love going on a nature trail and looking for rabbits, squirrels and birds.

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Do your research

Knowledge is king, so make sure you equip yourself with as much as possible before the holidays even begin. If you are interested in kids’ camps, check out some websites like www.schooldays.ie, www.kidsguide.ie, www.familyfun.ie and www.letsgo.ie. Your local school and sports clubs can be great sources of information about summer camps. Then, familiarise yourself with family-friendly activities in your area, such as the best playgrounds, cinemas that offer a cut-price kids club, parks with interesting features like fairy gardens or wood sculptures, open farms and libraries that run regular events.

Make the most of the good days…

Summer can strike at any moment in Ireland, and it’s essential that you enjoy the sunshine and good weather when it FINALLY arrives. Know what out door facilities are in your area and when you see that elusive sun peeping out, throw the kids out the door and GO. It could well be raining again tomorrow.

…But be prepared for the rain

We’re not so optimistic that we think it won’t rain this summer, but instead of moaning about it, this year we’re going to see it as a chance to do other things, such as cooking with the kids, creating amazing art work and making memories by planning fun activities like an indoor tent and picnic, or even a house obstacle course. Make a list of fun indoor stuff to do and use it.

Capture the moments

Okay, we’re robbing an idea off social media for this one. You know those people who seem to have perfect lives by the posts and pictures they put up on Facebook et al? All they’re doing is capturing the good moments and ignoring the days when you’ve had to hide in the bathroom for a cry because the kids are bickering all. the. time. And it’s only 9.30am. But by capturing the good moments, you’re able to look back at them when you’re having a bad day, and realise that good times do happen. A lot. So make an effort to take pictures, capture moments, maybe even keep a diary. Then next time you’re crying in the bathroom, take a quick look at the happy file, mop up those tears and get back out there with a smile and renewed (endless) patience – and make some more happy memories. You can do it!

maternity & infant

Originally posted 2016-06-28 11:43:16.