Summer is coming which means parents are now expected to be chauffeurs, social planners, and entertainers. This can be a great stressor to parents as they try to make sure the kids have activities that keep them happy and engaged during those long summer months.
As kids get older, it is time to stop forcing your kids to be involved in sports, camps and other activities that stress you out. As a matter of fact, it is time for you to spare their children some torment this summer by not adorning sports equipment, beach toys, and especially underwear with the poor kid’s name sloppily written with a brown sharpie and start letting them tell you what events they want to take part in. When they do tell you about an activity that requires a name in their underwear, or other places, then look at an alternative way to place it there so your child can avoid smeared marker stains that rub half off when they sweat or when it rains. Consider using labels. You can find several places that have cool designs like LeeLee school labels. These labels come in fun shapes and sizes. You can even get your phone number on the label. Do your research and label your kid’s things in a better way. This way, if you want to sell the things in the future, then you can take off the label instead of marking out the name.
Speaking of not doing all the hard work, there are many resources that encourage parents to let go of things that cause them stress, like being that social planner that makes summers hard to deal with. As kids get older you will find that you have introduced your child to enough activities for them to know what they like. Do not just assume your child wants to play football or go to that art camp. Ask them what they want to do and let them be more involved in the planning process. You may find those early morning wake-ups and late-night pickups will become less of a hassle if the kids start taking charge of their own events. If they do choose to take part in an activity that requires their things to be labeled, then make sure to use something other than a permanent marker to do the labeling. A marker becomes embarrassing at a certain age and, of course, if you want your younger children to be able to use the same equipment one day, you do not want a marker stain with someone else’s name on it.
Another great reason for changing the way you label your child’s things is because of allergic reactions. You never know when you will find a new substance that your child will have a reaction to. Yes, kids can have reactions at any event that they take part in, but why take a chance at contributing to the problem. If you must label your child’s binder for summer school or knee pads for soccer, use labels instead of pens. Medline Plus explains that most ink is not problematic but there is a small chance of reactions to the dyes. The dyes can stain skin or get into the eyes. These issues can be more of an annoyance that can be easily treated but a deep cleaning of the skin, eyes, and clothing or equipment will be needed to make sure that the reaction will not happen again. It seems easier to just use the labels and leave the ink alone.
Keeping sane in the summer will be a combination of letting go of some of the control that you have been accustom to you let your kids find new adventures on their own. They may venture back to the activities you are used to but they will have much more meaning if they choose to do them on their own. They may even decide to climb neighborhood apple trees, run through sprinklers, or ride bikes. Whatever they decide will give them the control and permission to have a great time, and allow you a break from the extra planning and running that makes you look forward to the return of the next school year.