Opinion: Laying down summertime law

It’s finally time for my annual Summer Survival Guide. Thank God! I don’t know if it’s because I’ve seen the movie “Frozen” so often or if this winter was simply that bad, but I find myself channeling Olaf twenty-four seven – longing for the warmth and relaxation only summer can bring (minus the hugs of course, even the warm ones. Blecht!)

Because some of you are worth melting for, I’d like to share my plans. Because we all know what a nightmare it is to have minions milling about with no other purpose than to make up for lost time on Xbox. These children need structure and rules, and need to know that sleeping until 3 p.m. is not acceptable day after sun-filled day, nor is letting their bedrooms morph into a debris field of Oreo crumbs, wet socks and discarded plastic snowmen.

So here are a few suggestions. Most have worked reasonably well for us in the past, and are back on the menu this year. Good luck, and remember, if all else fails: conceal, don’t feel.

  • Hold a family meeting at Yogurtz or the like to share your expectations for electronics usage, chores, and outside play time, and invite your kids to express their opinions. You’re not going to deviate from the limits you and your partner have predetermined, but allowing short people to feel as though they have a say over a quart of cake batter fro-yo will go a long way in enforcing said policies. Love is an open door when coupled with faux empowerment and sprinkles!
  • Plan for an Amish day once a week. No television, no computers, no cell phones. Force your children to interact face-to-face with real, live people. Break out the cards, LEGOs, and the Monopoly board, or kick them out of the house for a neighborhood Ghost in the Graveyard extravaganza. Do they even know what a book looks like? How about a bike? Regardless, for the first time in forever they can and will have fun without a power outlet.
  • Be flexible. Playing Julie McCoy to a bunch of tiny Love Boaters can be exhausting, so if the nightly glass of Pinot isn’t dulling the edge, opt for a day off from the Summer Rules. Let them watch Walking Dead for eight hours, eat Waffle Crisp for dinner, or play Nintendo until they’re cross-eyed. Let it go. Let. It. Go.

Summer is upon us my friends, and laying a few ground rules is key to enjoying a mentally stable June and July. Here’s to a magical, Olaf-imagined few months, hopefully without an ice-queen rage blizzard. But I make no promises, especially around the full moon! Peace out.

Danielle Wilson

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the same year Dick Nixon was elected. Along with my twin sister and three younger sisters, I attended Catholic schools for thirteen years. (Holy Mother, pray for me.) I spent two years as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado until I wised up and transferred to a more normal school, Indiana University, where I received a B.A. in history and a teaching license just for funsies. In 2001, I officially entered the ranks of stay-at-home moms to care for my two-year old son and newborn twins. I have mentally blocked all of 2002 and most of 2003. In 2004, I received a Master’s degree in U.S. History from I.U.P.U.I. and a fourth child from my should-have-had-that-vasectomy-sooner husband. From 2005 until mid-2010, I played Super Mom in the yet-to-be released indie film "Provide Daycare for Your Sister-in-Law's Children Because You Don't Have Enough to Do Already." I returned to teaching this fall at an undisclosed Indianapolis school where thankfully very few parents know who I am. I am considering developing a bad habit.

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