Parenting Through the Storm Blog

Parenting information and support for parents who have a child who is struggling. The official blog for Parenting Through the Storm: How to Handle the Highs, the Lows, and Everything in Between by Ann Douglas (HarperCollins Canada, January 2015 + Guilford Press, September 2016), a guide to parenting a child with a mental health, neurodevelopmental, or behavioural challenge.

How to Savour What's Left of Summer

daisies-summer

Turning the calendar page to August is a poignant reminder that summer won’t last forever. In just a few short weeks, we’ll all be diving into the hurricane that is back to school. So how do you make the most of these final few weeks of summer? How do you fill them with the kinds of memories that you'll want to look back on in months and years to come? Here are a few tips.

Revisit your summer wish list

Remember that list you made (on a piece of paper or maybe even just in your head), back when summer was just a vague and abstract idea: how you came up with a list of all the things you swore you would do this summer? Well, there’s no time like the present to revisit that list and to zero in on the things that matter most. Maybe it’s taking a day trip to an area attraction or planning an out-of-town getaway to visit friends and family members for a weekend. Or maybe it’s simply deciding that you want to spend more time having fun together as a family, here at home. Sometimes the most ordinary events get translated into the most spectacular memories, after all.

Be spontaneous

Find yourself with an unexpected block of time? Seize the moment and do something spontaneous and fun. Toss around a Frisbee. Head to the park. Whip up something delicious and decadent on the backyard grill. It’s amazing what a difference just an hour or two of unanticipated joy can make in your life and your kids’ lives, too. It's a chance to really connect with your kids in a powerful and far-reaching way.

Create time

Are there some tasks you could put off until fall so that you can make the most of summer? The basement will still be there to organize come September or October, but the lakes and rivers won’t be warm enough to swim in anymore. Here’s an idea: think about hitting the pause button on social media, if only for a couple of hours or a day at a time. Social media is great—but it can be all-encompassing. Don’t be afraid to unplug from technology temporarily so that you can plug into other opportunities and experiences instead. Give yourself and your kids the chance to harvest a few more summer memories by making intentional choices about how you’re choosing to use your time.

Savour the moment

When you’re having an amazing time with your kids, pause to really drink in every detail of that moment. Imagine that you’re trying to download this moment into your brain. Don’t be afraid to take a snapshot or two to capture the moment. Reflecting on a photo of this special moment can, after all, help you to relive it down the roadBut don’t allow the act of taking photos to interfere with your enjoyment of the here and now. (Yes, it’s a fine line.) You can squeeze more joy out of each and every moment by learning to anticipate, savour, and then remember that moment. (Do the math: we’re talking three times the fun.)

So there you have it: some practical advice on making the most of these final days of summer. And if you do decide to put one of these tips into action, let me know. I'd love to hear how things worked out for you. 
 

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about parenting, including, most recently Parenting Through the Storm. She is also the weekend parenting columnist for CBC Radio and a mom of four.