Summer brings along with it so many fun, busy, and stressful elements for parents. Most of us go into it with the best intentions; at least I know I do.
“This summer, we’ll do workbook activities on the weekdays. No summer slide for us!”
“We’re going to eat healthy and exercise every day! No excuses!”
“We can travel and keep a sleep schedule! No problem!”
If any of these phrases sound familiar, then you, most other parents, put undue pressure on yourself to keep up with an ever-growing list of things you “must do” as a parent. The reality is that this pressure often doesn’t lead to a feeling of accomplishment or satisfaction.
Summer is supposed to be fun, relaxing, and a special opportunity for you to get in quality time with your kiddos. There are some easy ways to stay healthy this summer and create healthier habits for your family without losing sleep or dropping the ball altogether. Here are five ways I stay on track and still leave space for fun and flexibility.
Bring it with You
The quickest way that I notice my little family veering off track with health and wellness is when we start to travel a lot. We have lots of activities and trips during the summer, and it’s super easy to default to the “let’s just do drive-through for dinner” instead of something healthier. That’s why I’ve started packing in advance what we need for snacks and meals instead of waiting until we’re starving to decide what to do! My kiddos are a bit older now, being six and nine, so our food options are more flexible. But I find this is the better alternative at any stage. Plus, this way, I promise that your little ones will eat more and be less grumpy! Here’s a super helpful article from the Food Network on healthy food you can pack for different types of travel.
Set Calendar Reminders
The only way I can keep myself on track with making sure my entire family, including myself, takes care of the essentials, like taking our vitamins and drinking enough water, is to set calendar reminders.
I have an iPhone and use their reminder function to put in daily, weekly, and monthly reminders for everything from kid’s appointments to taking vitamins that support our ongoing health and wellness! We absolutely love the ChildLife Multi Vitamin SoftMeltsTM, Vitamin D3 Drops, and LiveBioticsTM Immune System Support supplements. As you can imagine, with the frantic scramble that is mornings with children, it’s super easy for us to forget to take our supplements. The calendar reminders I set save me daily and remind me to pack up our vitamins before we leave to explore and adventure together!
Keep Essentials Packed
Nothing is worse than running out the door and getting on the road only to realize you forgot your diaper bag or snacks, or worse, the favorite blankie! A few years ago, I started keeping an essentials pack in the car at all times “just in case” I forget everything else. My summer pack includes,
- Healthy snack bars, like, one of these nine bar options suggested by Parents.com.
- A bottle of water
- A picnic blanket
- Sweatshirts, hats, and underwear
- Sunscreen…my personal favorite is anything from Sun Bum.
Be Practical with Schedules
I love a good schedule. After all, I am a self-affirmed Type-A mother all the way! But some days just don’t go according to plan, and with little ones, it can often be every day that is like this (depending on the stage you’re at). During the summer, in particular, I’ve found that I need to stay flexible and open to adjusting as the day unfolds — even if it means changing the plan entirely. When we’re less stressed as a family, we eat better, enjoy more, and sleep well. So practicality is critical to our summer happiness. Most of my mom-friends understand this as a constant factor of life, and we all adjust to allow for freakouts, sick days, and downtime. Make sure you have a supportive network around you so you can practically plan for the unexpected.
Let Go and Let Be
At the end of the day, as great as it is to be a conscious and considerate parent, there is also something to be said of letting go and letting be when things get too hectic. You can always start back up with your ChildLife routine the following day or when you get back from that weekend away. More genuine long-term health habits come from being consistent but also giving yourself grace as a parent. That way, you don’t give up entirely because things get messy or challenging. Each day is a new day to restart and refocus on the health and wellness of your family.
About the Author:
Elisabeth (Lis) Thomas launched the Womanhood Unwrapped community after years of struggling and learning as a working mom. The idea started in a supply closet when she was pumping milk on her lunch break for her daughter who was at home with a babysitter while she was at the office. In the midst of that nursing, working, and surviving phase, Lis thought, “there’s got to better support out there for working moms and ambitious women.
Womanhood Unwrapped is a blog and community for women, about the real stuff we go through in our lives.
Lis is also the owner of Summary Content Marketing — a content marketing boutique. She originally launched the blog under the name Entreprenista Mama in 2016, and in 2021 renamed the platform to be more inclusive and to provide a community and resource for women by women.
Follow Lis Thomas here: