4 ways you are destroying summer for your kids

Posted May 23

Summer. Just the word brings back such a wave of memories -- the smell of freshly cut grass, babbling creeks, the sound of creaking swing sets, and the songs of evening frogs. I remember -- and you probably remember too -- those long summer days that didn't end until the dinner bell rang and the sun was far-gone from the sky, and the feel of bare feet and the sound of Kick the Can in the street. Sadly, today's generation might not have similar memories -- unless parents decide to make it that way. Here are 10 things to avoid unless you want to completely destroy summer for your kids:

1. Allowing too much screen time and not enough outdoor time

Kids nowadays own iPads, smart phones, tablets -- you name it. Make them put it down and look up. The most valuable treasures of summertime don't exist on a screen, and the little fingers who touch those screens need to be catching frogs or splashing in the kiddie pool instead. Childhood is way too short.

2. Having too many organized activities

Ballet practice, play dates, piano practice, appointments -- a crammed schedule can equal a stressed out kid. Give them enough time to have uninterrupted play and time to just be kids. Structure is good; but over-structuring every single day isn't doing them any good.

3. Not letting them get dirty

Dirty fingernails, scraped knees and ripped T-shirts come with the territory of summer. Too many parents are over-concerned with outfits staying clean, shoes staying on and hands staying washed. No kid has ever died from mud smears or dirty fingernails; so just breathe, Mama. Those dirty sandals and scabbed legs are memories being made.

4. Refusing to join in on the fun

This is a big one. I've seen at the lake too many times the moms who sit under an oversized umbrella and refuse to get into the water because they feel insecure about wearing a swimsuit. Join your kid in the fun from time to time, and don't just be a spectator. Some of my favorite childhood memories include the times when my mom or my dad decided to be a kid again with me. Your kids won't remember you sitting on the shore with a book, but they will remember you throwing the beach ball out there in the water with them.


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