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The calendar pages have firmly turned over to June and it won’t be long before the last day of school rolls around. While the majority of us are still busy exclaiming that surely it can’t be June already, summer is waiting in the wings for her big entrance and nobody wants to be caught unawares.
So I have compiled a few helpful steps to being summer ready with small kids. In Ireland. An Irish summer is a different beast altogether to the stereotypical summer conjured up with the season’s title.
- Spend way too long debating the merits of one sun-cream lotion over the other; then buy the first one you were drawn to anyway. This is best performed standing in the aisle in Boots with a toddler filling your basket with panty liners while you compare UVA/UVB ratings.
- Unpack all the ‘summer clothes’ and arrange them in the kids wardrobe. If you are feeling enthusiastic, match up little outfits ready to go. Most importantly, have a good pile of light jackets, cardigans and hoodies for the kids to wear. In reality though a quicker route would be to just pack away the winter coats as that really that’s the only difference!
- Peruse the aisles of Home Store and More, B&Q, Woodies and other similarly themed establishments. Admire sets of lovely garden furniture, BBQs and marquees. Form wonderful notions of dining al fresco, hosting garden gatherings and perhaps the installation of a stone pizza oven. My advice would be to cut to the chase. Bring a picnic with you on your next window shopping excursion, sit your bum down on a cushioned chair in store and enjoy it. Successful garden parties in Ireland are as rare as hens teeth.
- Buy a myriad of ‘garden’ toys which you believe will lure the kids to the great outdoors. Plot family games evening where you all play giant Jenga or giant snakes & ladders (it has to be giant or it doesn’t count) all the while you are sipping a leisurely glass of chilled wine. Then turn to look at your children and take stock of the situation. Anything giant can be used as a giant weapon in the war of sibling rivalry. A football, skipping rope and pack of large pavement chalk will do just fine. They’ll be made up!
- In a similar vein, indulge the idea of setting up an inflatable hot spa or family sized paddling pool (I’m calling a spade a spade here) in your garden. Take a step back from the moment of insanity and give yourself a slap if the moment of clarity isn’t coming on quick enough. Nothing further needs to be said here.
- Plan family day trips with military precision. It’s always fun to take your children somewhere new they didn’t know they would find boring!
- Schedule a variety of summer camps that start off luring you in with the belief that this will keep the summer off as simple as a school term. This is a big, fat, well-packaged lie. If you are a working parent, summer camps do not fill the gap that the school holidays leave. Camps start later and finish earlier, and stop gap childcare will still be needed.
- As soon as the lesser-spotted sun gives a wink from the sky, abandon all plans of achieving anything else that day and make the most of it. What is seldom is precious. Most childhood summer memories involve lazy hours spent in the garden/beach/park with parents who had given in to relaxation.
- Spend ages telling everyone you are happy to just roll with your pale skin and won’t be tormenting yourself with fake tan this year. Feel a wonderful sense of freedom in this new found self assurance. Then the moment the sun does appear and the legs are to be given an airing, panic and liberally douse yourself in whatever self-tanning product is left over from last year.
A successful family summer doesn’t require many ingredients. Kids are exceedingly delighted with a parent who is happy to chase them with a water gun, buy a 99 from the ice-cream van and lie on the picnic blanket shooting the breeze. So when summer 2017 hits, make the most of the few days!