Marriage counselors and authors of Defenders of the Heart: Managing the Habits and Attitudes That Block You from a Richer, More Satisfying Life, Marilyn Kagan, LCSW, and Neil Einbund, Ph.D, see it everyday…Moms and Dads concerned about their kids this summer because the recession has taken away the opportunity for summer camp or a family vacation. While it’s easy and understandable to be upset, hope should not be lost as creativity and family unity could make this summer the best yet.
Based on their own family activities and conversations with parents in their own private practice in Los Angeles, Marilyn and Neil are sharing eight tips to make the best of your family’s recessionary summer.
1. Date night swap. Maybe you have enough funds for your weekly date night, but the babysitting fee is really breaking your budget. Don’t give up date night – your marriage needs it. Instead, arrange with your neighbors or other family friends to take turns watching each other’s children.
2. Skip the gym membership and get fit together. Set aside time during the week to hit the local park to play a sport together like softball or kickball. Gather the family and go for brisk walks after dinner. Wake up early on the weekend to cycle or hike on trails in your town.
3. Plant a garden. It teaches children about healthy eating and about positively contributing to Mother Earth. It also gives children something to care for each day.
4. Mentally prepare kids for the fall. In August, start to get your child’s mental power back on target by initiating one hour quiet time each day to fulfill back to school reading lists. Consider hiring a local high school or college student as a tutor to help your child get ahead in his or her weak subjects. Student tutors are usually more affordable and the work could benefit them too in their future career pursuits.
5. Flip your house. No DIY projects here. Instead, trade houses with a friend in another state that’s within driving distance. New places always lead to new, possibly great memories. It gives you and your family a chance to explore a new part of the country even if it’s only a few hours away.
6. Stay on top of local news. Whether it’s your weekly town paper, the city daily or a regional parenting publication, these media outlets will highlight a host of free and affordable activities during the week. If you’ve cancelled all of your subscriptions to save a buck, then hit the internet and explore these publications online. You can also visit Craig’s List, Eventful, Zvents and CityGuide online for other nearby events and activities.
7. Join a cause together. Doing something good for others is one of the best feelings you can ever have. Families can contribute to the greater good by raising funds or providing time. Decide together those causes that are important to you, and how much you are willing to contribute.
8. Unplug. For one evening during the week, turn off the computers and television sets and host a night of good old time fun. Whether you take out the Monopoly board, spend hours on arts & crafts, or catch fireflies in the evening, teach your children the fun and inspiration in unplugged activities.