This week marks that time of year when School’s out for Summer. As a kid growing up this was the best time of year, a time to turn up the music and let loose. As the schools slowly let out I have watched as parents and families start to celebrate the upcoming break, excited with all they plan to do. As a single parent the joys of summer are often tempered by challenges. Summer throws a kink into the coparenting relationship and messes with the schedules. Add in summer camp and vacation coordination and you have a pot of stress ready to boil over. It happens every year and always manages to work itself out. So you relax, breath deep, and enjoy the sunshine on your face.
After all it is summer. A time for family and fun. A time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and a chance to reach out and explore more of the world without concerns of homework and school. A time to enjoy the pool, waterpark, and beaches … a time to enjoy the great outdoors.
Yet you can’t, as a parent, completely relax. In all that summertime excitement you need to remember to keep the family safe. For a single parent this is just one more of those challenges times as your attention is that much more stretched. That is why when the Digital Dads recently had a podcast episode on this very topic that I wanted to share – not just for single parents … but all parents. They discussed, with Dr. Shoba Srikantan out of Orlando, many of the summer safety tips we should keep in mind. I won’t go into a lot of the details as I would encourage all parents to take a listen. However, the key takeaway for me was ‘be vigilant’. It only takes a few second for a child to escape your protective zone.
While the podcast seemed primarily focused on water safety, a big concern in the summer, summertime is a time for heightened awareness all around. Summertime offers kids more time to explore and to be more independent. As such, it might be a good time to discuss any rules or boundaries you have regarding playing outside or at the park. As they mentioned repeatedly, we as parents can’t relax. We are not off the clock while the kids are around – so stay vigilant and don’t let your guard down, especially when there are dangers around. The podcast also reminded me that I need to go get at least my CPR certification, Dr. Dad is always on duty so I better have the skills.
However, I thought I would add a few additional points to remember. I know we have all been told them before, but never hurts to get a refresher right.
Mind the Fire
One of my favorite activities during the summer is getting the change to go camping, now granted in the hot summer heat of Florida it tends to be put off until later in the fall – but for many this is the prime time of year to pitch a tent or park your RV and enjoy the great outdoors. There is often nothing better than roasting marshmallows over an open fire under a full moon, with nothing around you but trees and the sound of wind flowing through the trees. So, remember Smokey Bear and pay attention – a tossed match or renegade spark is all it takes.
Don’t Feed The Wildlife
My kids are some of the worst for this, always tossing crumbs out for the birds and turtles. They are cute, and pleasant. It is such a thrill to get close to wild animals. Your heart starts racing and you can feel the blood rush through your body. I admit, I am one that loves the encounters. But you have to be careful. Animals are primal, creatures of habits. Once they associate food and attention from humans they will seek it out, and sweet creates one moment can be aggressive the next. They are Unpredictable. They are wild. Which is why it is a thrill, just recognize it and keep yourself safe.
As with almost every aspect of life, make sure you are equipped before heading out. A simple 45-min, late afternoon, drive into the woods can turn into an overnight stay (I will save that story for another day). So before heading out make sure you have the right gear – first aid kit, matches, and a plan.
With that, enjoy a safe and happy summer. Lets get on with those adventures!