This post has been sponsored by Nestlé®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
5 Ways to Spend More Time With Your Kids This Summer
1. Enjoy a Cold Treat as a Family
When I was a kid, my dad would regularly take my sister and me to get ice cream. Growing up, my family were all Drumsticks® fans. Just the other day while I was on a work trip in Denmark with my sister, she actually told me that the classic Drumsticks® are her all-time favorite cold treat. I had no idea! What great timing that I get the chance to work with one of our family favorites.
If I’m honest, my biggest struggle as a mom is finding these little moments to slow down and be present with my kids. A simple act of picking up some sweet treats at Vons and enjoying them as a family, around the dinner table, was the first time in a long time that I can remember where I was just completely present in the moment with my babies. I’m not saying ice cream is a cure-all for the chaos that is my life, but I do think it’s these little sweet moments I need to plan and hold onto the most.
2. Go for a Family Walk
Now that you just ate that ice cream, let’s show our kids some balance and get some exercise. We are really lucky to live near a gorgeous park. It’s less than a five-minute walk, which is perfect for little legs.
Most of the time, my kids ride their bike or scooter and I jog along behind them. It’s a great way for me to get a little extra intense exercise and also they love when mom jogs along with them.
Our neighborhood park also has sidewalks all the way around it, so I can do laps while my kids play on the playground. Sometimes, they will even scoot or bike along with me as I do laps.
Exercising with your kids is not only a great way to spend time together, it’s also a fantastic way to role model a healthy and active lifestyle.
3. Go for a Drive
Some of the best memories I have with my parents are silly road trips we went on together. You could plan a short day-trip, a longer road trip, or even just an hour cruise to explore areas of your city or region that you haven’t explored before.
The only thing I would suggest for the shorter trips is to lose technology. Put down the phones and the iPads and actually talk to each other. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with my kids is while I’m driving them to school or an activity. It’s time with a lot less distractions. I turn down the radio and ask them questions. It’s amazing what they’ll tell you when you’re just riding.
On slightly longer car rides we will listen to fun music they haven’t heard before (throw-backs to my youth are always fun) or we’ll play games like I-spy. My kids get such a kick out of these little games. Growing up, we always played the alphabet game. Now that my kids know their letters, this is one we’re going to start playing this summer.
4. Play Cards or Board Games
Some of the best memories I’ve had with my kids the last year is playing games with them. They are really into card games and board games right now, so they get so excited when I’ll sit down and play with them. That’s the thing. It’s really easy to spend time with your kids. You don’t have to do something grandiose for them to love it and remember it.
Ironically, some of my favorite memories with my own parents is also playing board games. I remember hours of playing every board game under the sun. We had quite the collection. This goes back to the fact that technology and video games were still so not a part of the daily fabric of our lives. Things like board games seemed a lot more fun. But honestly, they still are! My kids absolutely love them. Go to the store and pick up some of the classics. I bet your kids will love them just as much as mine do and as I did as a kid. Playing board games is a great way to spend time with your kids this summer.
5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone for a Day
I know, it sounds impossible. What would I do without my GPS, my Instagram, my email, the good ole’ ability to make a phone call. But remember 1999? Remember when we didn’t have constant connection, when we didn’t have to check social media sites daily? Do you remember your own childhood?
I remember mine vividly, and I remember that there was not one piece of technology, aside from a rotary phone and a TV that were part of my daily life. Well until high school, I wasn’t regularly on a computer. I may be dating myself here, but I do miss the days where the only thing I had on the agenda was playing in sprinklers or riding my bike to my neighbor’s house to play in their backyard. Let’s give our kids those moments too. Let’s forget our phones or at least forget to turn them on once in awhile. Instead, let’s focus completely on them and their well-being. I bet we’ll even have a lot more fun without those phones.
None of these ideas are special or unique, but they are all little ways we can slow down and connect with our families. I recently read about the fact that we only get 18 summers with each of our kids. That may or may not be completely accurate (I know I was around my parents’ house well into my early 20s), but the premise is definitely true. Their childhoods are fleeting and I want to make the most of these summer moments while I have them. I’m planning to find a lot of summer activities so we can have a lot of family time. Here’s to finding ways to create memories and spend time with your kids this summer. Enjoy your summer vacation!