Creative Child

How to Give Your Kids a 1970’s Summer

by Sarah Lyons


Go outside

“Go outside and come back when it’s dinner time.” is what my parents would say nearly every afternoon when I was growing up. There were no scheduled play dates, meet ups at the park, or specific activities planned. If I wanted to go to the park, I would ride my bike or walk there. If I wanted a friend to come along, I would swing by their house on the way and knock on the door to see if they wanted to join me. My parents had only a vague idea where I was or who I was with and this was the norm. While many parents don’t feel quite as safe giving their child free reign, we can learn from this attitude. Kids do not need us to plan and intervene in their daily activities. Send them outside, have them go knock on a neighbor’s door and ask them to join them. Play in the sprinkler, ride bikes, draw with chalk, drink from the hose, learn to do cartwheels, jump rope, plant flowers, or simply sit in the sun. Go outside and don’t come home until dinner.  

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Let it go

Parents today have so much pressure to live up to unrealistic standards. We feel we must provide educational crafts, plan interesting and affordable outings, provide well balanced extracurricular activities, all while cooking healthy, organic food, maintaining a clean house, a healthy marriage, and balance our careers simultaneously. The truth is, none of us are able to keep up with it all. The 1970’s parent, while balancing many of the career and family obligations we have today, did not put the type of pressure parents today place on themselves. This summer, take a break from the pressures of social media, enjoy your kids, join them outside, play a board game, have a movie night, lounge at the pool, eat a little (or a lot of) junk food, and give yourself permission to let things go and accept you can’t realistically keep up with everything anyway.

The key to giving your kids, and yourself, a 1970’s summer is to unplug, enjoy, and ease up on the pressures we place on ourselves. Let’s just enjoy our kids and enjoy every unscheduled moment because, before you know it, it will be time to head back to school.

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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