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A Summer 2020 Family Guide To Fun

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Summer 2020 is unlike any other. In this podcast we help parents think through assessing reasonable risks, managing disappointment around missed summer rituals, and reexamining boredom with a positive lens. We also provide 33 ideas of summer activities— inside, outside, virtual, and local as well as ingenious listener hacks to Stay Connected With Friends

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Show Notes

Summer’s here, and after our spring, we all would like to have some special summer moments outside with our families. In this episode, Lynn Lyons discusses how to handle common reactions from children.

Maybe your child is anxious the virus and doesn’t want to ease back into normal activities. Maybe your older kids are wanting to be too social or not social enough.

We unpack boredom and its connection to creativity and unstructured play so that listeners can be ready with a constructive response to “I’m bored”.

And finally we discuss our ultimate summer guide to family fun. We asked podcast listeners to share their ideas on ways to make some magic for their kids this summer. The guide has 33 ideas: inside, outside, virtual, and local; you’re bound to find ideas right for your family.

We mention several things for summer activities and socializing that we compiled as an Amazon list. It includes the chocolate coins, picnic and hiking supplies, and the portable potty system Robin discusses.

Music at the end of the episode includes “Summertime” with permission by Susie Tallman whose children’s albums were some of our favorites when our kids were younger.

Summer 2020 Guide
Download our guide now for over 30 ideas of family fun!

Episode Transcript

Lynn Lyons  0:00 

All right, so prepare yourself people, this is going to be one crazy summer, we already know that many of the things that we count on and that we rely on, the things we enjoy are going to be disrupted or adapted or changed. So, we’re going to talk about how we’re going to manage all of this as parents, how we’re going to help our kids, and how we’re going to help ourselves get through what will be known forever as the summer of 2020.

Hi Robin!

Robin Hutson  0:32 

Hi Lynn!

Lynn Lyons  0:33 

We’re going to talk about summer, right?

Robin Hutson  0:34 

The Summer of 2020 isn’t exactly our traditional summer, is it?

Lynn Lyons  0:40 

No, this is going to be a strange summer. And I think that we are going to have to figure out how to manage this. You know, I was just talking to somebody yesterday. I was doing an interview, and we were talking about the challenge of entering a period where there is some gray in our decision making. And that, for a period of time, it was pretty all or nothing that we were shut down, locked down, school was at home, people were working at home.

But now that we’re opening up a little bit in some parts of the country— and I think, most parts of the country. How are you going to manage what kids can do during the summer, and what they can’t do during the summer? I think that’s going to be the challenge is being able to balance out a few things. One is that our complete, total desire to give our kids a summer and to give us a summer, our need to pay attention to the reasonable information that we’re getting and what makes sense scientifically, (and all of the statistical stuff), and then our fear about how it is that we’re going to step back into the world however it is that your family does it. There’s a lot of competing emotional forces going on.

Robin Hutson  1:56 

Absolutely. I feel like we are entering into a new chapter. The pandemic began, and we all sort of created these safe spaces in our homes and shut out the outside world and limited interactions and how we would go to the grocery store I focused on what I could control. And then I knew that if I could create an environment at home that felt safe without the threats of the viruses, since none of us were working in healthcare as frontline workers, we were fortunate enough to be able to work from home remotely. Where do we ease back?

And it’s interesting just because I’m connected with friends who live all over the country, I live in Massachusetts, where the community has been hard hit. And there are cases up here where we’re all first degree with people who are trying to get through the virus, how people interpret risk is going to be based on who you are and where you live.

Let’s Talk Reasonable Risk

Lynn Lyons  2:51 

Right. And that’s, that’s one of the skills of parenting is teaching your kids how to assess  reasonable risk. How do we give them an opportunity? And how do we model for them critical thinking?

So that’s one of the big skills on my list of “How do we create functional families and functional kids that can move out into the world,” and this is really a big test of that.

How do we manage reasonable risk? I was just talking to a mom the other day, and she said her little girl was sort of standing and hanging at the fence, watching the neighbors all in their pool. And the kids were playing in the pool, and I think there were probably some cousins there. And she just had this little sad face because she couldn’t be included in that.

And the mom is saying, “So, do I let her go over and swim in the pool?” And “I don’t feel like that I’m ready to do that. But how do I, how do I manage all of this?”

The other thing too, is that summer activities in terms of being able to say to— particularly little kids— to be able to say, “Well, you have to follow the social distancing rules, or you have to make sure that you wear your mask.” That’s harder to do.

Once we’re out in the world compared to when, like you’re saying, when you’re going to the grocery store, you’re staying at home where your kids are remote learning. The rules are really gray. It’s a little murky for us all.

Robin Hutson  4:22 

Absolutely. I’m aware that when we have been focusing on creating, you know, a safe… I know I’m so self-conscious saying words like that with you. (laughs) When an anxiety expert is your sister in law, yeah, right. I didn’t really say safe in the right way.

So, but, you know, we’re aware that we definitely kind of clamped down and now the question is, where can we release, and I see other friends and family who were also very hunkered down, but they’re absolutely taking advantage of more freedoms now. So, it makes me question well, where should we go? And what should we do? For me, I try and make it as fact-based as I can, looking at research and looking at science. I always feel like that’s an area that I get comfort in because I try and make my decision process that’s not just like a knee-jerk reaction.

The Need For Face-To-Face Connection

Lynn Lyons  5:22 

The tricky part of that is that— particularly for kids that are sort of tweeners and adolescents— is that we know based on their brain development and their level of maturity, that the emotional need to be together is so much more powerful than their reasonable assessment of risk.

That’s where you’re going to get into conflict sometimes, not only in yourself, but with your kids. Because what they feel that they need— which they truly do need it—I mean, they really want to be together is in contrast to what you find to be reasonable in your family based on who’s at risk, based on who you’re going to see. And so, there are these competing forces. And I think the problem with summer is that summer is the time in which we really want to be together. We want to be doing all these activities, and you’re going to come up against this over and over and over again.

Robin Hutson  6:23 

Well, especially when your children’s friends are responding completely differently, too. And the resentment that your kids might feel if other people are getting together, and you aren’t in a position to join in socially, because you don’t feel like the risk is the right equation for your family. Yeah, it’s very, very tough.

I do think that for teens and tweens, you know, there are safe ways for them to connect with a lot of distance outside, and we have started doing that where we show up at a house with our own chairs in the backyard. And we’ve done some drawing and talking and, you know, kept a very far distance.  But it’s amazing how beneficial it is to see people face to face, even if you’re not close and hugging and touching, there are safe options to take advantage of.

Lynn Lyons  7:13 

And I think that that’s what people are finding is that seeing people face to face is perhaps more important than they thought. And its sort of like we’ve been, we’ve been so thirsty for this. I think the thing that we have to do and I know I say this all the time, but I just feel like direct communication with your kids is so helpful. So that if you are trying to figure out what your reasonable risk should be in your family, you should have a conversation with your kids about that.

You should explain your thinking about why maybe it’s okay for that family to do that, but we’ve got somebody in our family who this. So being able to help your kids hear you talk through the process that you’re using to come to these conclusions. Sometimes we just say to kids. “Well, no, I’m sorry. We are not doing that. I understand that the family down the street is having a party with 70 people, or even 15 people. But we are not doing that.”

I think that it really is helpful to say to kids, this is how I came to this decision. And help kids understand that there is that process like you said, Robin, of going through the emotional part of it and feeling those feelings, but also helping them assess the information to come up with some sort of plan that works for your family.

And it’s going to be different for different families, for sure. It’s just, it’s just hard for us all because we’re experiencing the loss of what we really value in our togetherness during the summer.

Robin Hutson  8:43 

I think it would be challenging, and I’m very compassionate when one parent is like, this is all “Just let them do what they want to do,” and then the other person is trying to follow a different amount of social distancing and caution. So, I appreciate that that is very stressful when they don’t see eye to eye.

When Virus Fears Take Over Kids

Lynn Lyons  9:00 

That has absolutely been an issue. The other thing that has come up is in the families that I’ve been talking to, is that for families that had been really conscious of talking about this and making sure that they’re doing the things that they need, now that they’re saying, “Okay, so we can relax a little bit, and it is okay for us to go to the park.”

Parents are saying to me, “Now my child doesn’t want to do anything. So now my child is really scared to go near anybody.

Parents are saying to me, “Now my child doesn’t want to do anything. So now my child is really scared to go near anybody, even though I’ve said, we’re going to double the bubble, or it’s okay to go to the park as long as we do this.”

They’re finding that their kids really listened to them about being fearful. And now that we’re trying to move back into a little more flexibility, the kids are resisting. And so again, talk about the process. I’m a big fan of drawing boxes. So when I’m explaining things to kids, I literally I have a piece of paper and I draw boxes, it would be really helpful as you’re talking to your kids, if you’re moving back into more relaxed, social distancing with this or whatever, whatever way you’re relaxing, if you’re finding that your kids’ anxiety and fear is saying, “No, no, Mommy, we can’t do that we can’t do that,” I would recommend drawing boxes, and helping them see the sequence of how you got from this place that we were in March to the place that we were in April to now maybe the place that we are in June.

So, they can see the progression of it and saying, “Here’s where we started, here’s where we were, and here’s where we are now. And even just writing a few little words in there, or if your child has very little, you know, drawing little stick figures or something so that they can understand that this is a progression.

Because remember, when fear and anxiety show up, they stop you in a very rigid all or nothing way. And so, we really want to talk about movement in this— that we’re going from here to here to here, and then who knows what’s going to happen in the fall and the winter, right?

We may have to put another box in, but we’re not going to go there yet. But really helping kids see the progression of this and give them a visual to look at and talk them through it so they understand that process.

This is applicable to a lot of situations in life. This pandemic has given us a lot of opportunities to teach really important skills, being adaptable and flexible, and being able to change your approach to something as we get more information or as time passes. That’s a really good skill to walk through with your kids.

Navigating a Social Life With Distance

Robin Hutson  11:31 

It’s harder to figure out if you wanted to have two six-year-olds maybe see each other very far apart in the driveway, what could you possibly do that they’ll are going to understand and be entertained and engaged?  And I think that it’s lowering expectations because a friend of mine brought up a great idea where we stopped by for a very short charades game. It doesn’t have to be everything, right? Just make it a quick and simple thing where you’re able to stay apart and then they moved on and it wasn’t big deal, but people beyond our families are still out there.

We participated in a Teacher Appreciation Day Parade at my children’s school. And there were over 150 families who participated in this car parade.

Lynn Lyons  12:14 

That’s awesome.

Robin Hutson  12:15 

It was really adorable. But one of the things that we thought about is that we have just this happened about a month ago. So, we were everyone was still just kind of stuck at home, not leaving the home much felt like the world was empty. But then here were all these people that we saw again. They exist. They didn’t go anywhere. They’re just in their homes, too. And it was such a powerful reminder that sometimes in a creepy, dystopian, empty neighborhood can feel a little weird. And there’s a lot of comfort in knowing no, everyone’s still here.

Lynn Lyons  12:43 

That’s true. What a great thing to think about. The other thing you said that I think is that it doesn’t have to be long and extended. So, as you were saying that I was thinking about other events that we have.

So, you go to a fireworks display, right? Now unless your town has a huge budget, lots of times a firework display lasts like 10 minutes, right? Nobody expects the fireworks to go on for two hours. But there’s all the getting there and the anticipation and going. And you sit, you wait for the parade, and then the parade goes by. And maybe the parade if you live in a little town the parade last 10 or 20 minutes or something like that.

So, I think the idea of having these interactions, and being able to step out of your isolation, even for short periods of time is really, really helpful.

You do not have to plan a five-hour activity or even a two-hour activity. A quick game of charades, having a little blow bubble party, dropping by and having a little cookies and juice with your friends if you have little kids that last 15 minutes.

It’s going to be okay. So, think about think about shortening it up so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed that you have to have a full day. I think that’s a wonderful thing to think about.

Managing Summer’s Disappointments

So, the other thing you’ll remember, way back when, Robin. It feels like it was like 40 years ago, we talked about managing disappointment. We talked about when FOMO turns to MO, if you haven’t heard that episode, you can go back and listen to it. And we’re still managing disappointment now. But I think we want to think about how it is that we’re going to help our kids move forward a little bit. Again, empathy, huge, important, absolutely something we want to validate their feelings, we want to let them know how hard it is to let things go.

But I just want to talk about two places where parents might get a little stuck in managing the disappointment of their kids. And one is the rumination trap. And the other is the projection trap.

So, the rumination trap ruminating, just as a little reminder, it’s chewing your mental cud. So, it’s going over things over and over and over again. It’s going back it’s feeling regret. It’s telling the same story over and over again. And I think that as our kids miss out on things that we have to be careful and pay attention that we don’t go back to it with them over and over again that they don’t hear us saying, “Oh, I know she was so disappointed that she missed her end of the school year party,” or “I’m so concerned that she didn’t have a closure about this,” and going over and talking about it over and over. And again, that’s rumination. It’s the opposite of problem solving. So, we get stuck in the past.

The projection trap is when we project our feelings of disappointment onto the things that our children are missing. So, it was funny because I was just having a conversation with my 22-year-old No, no, he’s still 21. He’ll be 22 next week about missing his college graduation. And they have some I don’t know, there’s some little thing that they’re doing whatever he, and I said to him, “Well, I think I’m more upset about it than you are.” And he said, “Well, Mom, it’s because we’re going to have something later, so I’m not feeling disappointed about missing my graduation because we’re not having on June 5, but they’ve already told us we’re going to have it next fall or next summer. So, I don’t, I’m not really disappointed at all.”

And I was the one who was really so disappointed about missing it in June. I was projecting on him, “Oh, he must be upset about this. He must be worried that he’s missing out on this.” He’s really not. It was me.

So, pay attention to that projection. Kids are pretty resilient. And a lot of them have an understanding at this point that life has changed, and that we’re shifting things and we’re doing things differently. Let them feel their disappointment, but let’s not project our disappointment onto them. Because I’m hearing that a lot in language.

I’m hearing parents say, “Oh, I’m sure that she’s devastated about this,” or “I’m sure that she’s terrified to go back out into the world.” Make sure that you are not putting your thoughts and your feelings onto your children.

Little Passports Banners

Boredom’s Bad Rap

Robin Hutson  17:05 

My husband mentioned this the other day, he’s like, “If we just if this were a couple hundred years ago, we would just be on our farm, you know, working to make meals, and we wouldn’t travel far from home. You know, we wouldn’t do any of this stuff. I think that there’s a lot to gain of being rooted in the legacy of how humans have lived and less of a focus on how we’ve lived in the last 25 years.

Lynn Lyons  17:27 

So, it’s almost like being able to really enjoy simplicity. And I think a lot of our rumination and our projection and a lot of our worry about our kids is that we feel like it has to be so complicated and busy and full, and they have to have something to do every moment. It really sort of comes down to being able to allow kids to be bored again, allowing them to experience some boredom that it’s okay like the simplicity of hanging out.

It’s so true when you think about even if we were to look at music from the 40s and 50s, or before that about summertime, the song isn’t summertime, and the living is busy, and we have to have seven camps scheduled. It’s this whole idea that there can be some simplicity to this time of life to this period of life. I wonder if we were to change the word from boredom to simplicity, if people would have a different reaction to it.

Robin Hutson  18:29 

There’s still a lot of chances that many children will look back on this time as positive one because of how much time they were with their families.

Lynn Lyons  18:36 

Yes.

Robin Hutson  18:37 

Maybe the family draws together. Maybe the family reads out loud together. Maybe the family plays games and music together. And that’s how I’ve been getting through it myself because of all of the economic uncertainties, how do we just keep it really, really simple?

Lynn Lyons  18:55 

And I wonder, too, with a lot of parents that are, you know, having have been raising their kids in these last 20 years, and I certainly can experience this myself is that you feel guilty. If you are not doing something every minute, this idea that you’re supposed to entertain your kids or entertain yourself, this idea that you if you’re just swinging on a hammock, right, if you’re just taking a walk, if you’re just lying on the beach or watching a show on Netflix, I feel like there is there is this guilt that comes with it. Now we talked about guilt before that you’re doing something wrong.

I wonder if it would be helpful for parents to think about how it is that they can teach their kids to just have moments of stillness, that it really is okay to not have things scheduled to not always be working toward something. That you’re going to go to the soccer camp this summer because you need to get your skills better so that you can make the JV team. That you’re going to have your SAT prep course this summer because we need you to do like all of these things that are that we’re constantly working toward the future, rather than just being in the present. I think that that boredom sometimes is mistaken for just being in the moment.

Robin Hutson  20:22 

Yes. So, my husband and I were out on a rare date night dinner. I remember that our kids were with your parents since you’re my sister in law. We went to this little restaurant and this very young, I don’t know, 24-year-old server came up to us and she had this very creative eyeshadow on and I commented on it. I said, “I really like your eye makeup. You did something really fun,” because it was a little out there. Yeah. And she was like, “Oh, thanks. I was a little bored before coming to work and was just playing around.”

And when she left my husband looked at me and said, “When’s the last time you’ve been bored? Right? We’re never bored anymore.”

And you’re right. We’re never bored anymore because we have so much to do, right? We have so much to do. And yet, boredom, like you’re saying, needs to be reframed. Because the ability to have unstructured time means that something really creative could be about to happen.

Lynn Lyons  21:15 

And I’m thinking, too, that when I was starting to write the first book that I wrote, and I was writing with my pal Reid, Reid Wilson, this was not his first book, but it was my first book. And I was feeling like I wasn’t being productive enough. Like I was saying something to him about sort of I wasn’t, there weren’t enough words on the page. And he said, “Do you understand that when you’re sitting there doing nothing and your brain is sort of thinking and creating that you’re actually working on this project?” So, can you just allow yourself to not do anything and see what bubbles up creatively? That counts. And I needed that permission from him. I needed him to say to me like “No, this counts.” You being bored and sitting there and daydreaming, that’s actually where your creative process is going to happen.”

And I think boredom is that process a lot of times. Like you’re filling in the space with what could I imagine. Or what can I do? I love that story about the waitress. Yeah, I was bored. So, I created this amazing thing on my eyes, I did this artistic thing with my eyeshadow.

It’s just it’s just a nice way of reframing it so that we’re not so afraid of our kids being bored. And I think again, this pandemic is a very unique situation. But I wonder if one of the lessons that we can learn this summer with all of the changes in our schedule, and the lack of availability of all these activities that we’ve so depended upon is going to give us some opportunity to reframe boredom as not something that we need to protect our children from at every moment or fix.

Robin Hutson  22:53 

When I was growing up my mother always said if I were to say— because there’s like an age where children tend to say, “Mom, I’m bored”— but I just remember my mom would always reply, “Well, that sounds like a personal problem.” She would say “If you need some chores to do, I have those; otherwise, figure it out.”

Lynn Lyons  23:11 

Yeah.

Robin Hutson  23:11 

That is similarly what I do tell my kids because it’s so easy to go down the path of, if I’m watching my children and they are sitting on the sofa and they are not doing something to better themselves or a skill or something at that moment, you get triggered. And you say, like, we have to make them look really productive. Because you project that productivity challenge that we feel onto them.

Lynn Lyons  23:34 

Correct.

Robin Hutson  23:34 

But I think that if they get bored enough, here’s my hope for my own kids. So, don’t let them listen to this episode. I’m hoping that this summer brings enough unstructured time that they may not have experienced before where each of them figures out from their own a creative project that they want to take on. Their boredom pushes them to a new level of you know, “I have an ambitious X I want to do or Y that I want to do. And I think that that’s one of the other ways that we’re trying to put a positive lens on this. I think they’ve got to get a little restless to finally say, “I’m tired of nothing to do. How do I solve this problem for myself?”

Lynn Lyons  24:20 

And that’s just what your mom was saying is that this is an inside me problem, not an outside problem, right? This is an internal thing that I can work on and come up with something rather than depending on the external world to entertain me.

It reminds me, and you can ask, you can ask my brother about this. We had this game that we played in the backyard— talk about like trying to fill time. And we had this slide, like this playground slide, that was not so heavy. We moved it up to… there was this this shed in our backyard. This is called the tack house and the game was that we would climb up the slide, run across the roof of the house, and then jump off the other side, and then just run around and climb up this slide. We would just do that over and over and over again. It was like the most mundane game, we thought it was pretty fun. We made that up ourselves.

No parents said, “Hey, I have an idea. “Why don’t you put the slide next to the roof? Climb up; run across.” It wasn’t that high; it was probably like six feet high. “Run across and jump off. And then do that 82 times in a row. That’d be a fun game.” But it was nobody giving us like Oh, here’s the …you know, it’s again that unstructured play that is so important for kids that I think we’ve really moved away from. Boredom leads to unstructured play.

Robin Hutson  25:38 

What I’m going to hold myself to is that when we hear “Mom, I’m bored this summer,” It’s really an opportunity to say, “I’m going to put that problem back on you.”

Lynn Lyons  25:48 

I think that is a wonderful thing to remember as we move into this summer, which is really going to be different than a lot of other summers for sure.

Managing Screen Time

Robin Hutson  25:58 

And I can’t stress enough, I have very definitive moments where I say, no more screen time. I turn the Wi Fi off. They don’t have access to it. Yeah. And so, they know they have to figure out how to fill time without any sort of screens. And usually they might pout a few minutes, but they know that they know the drill now.

Lynn Lyons  26:19 

Yes.

Robin Hutson  26:19 

My children have a very wide age difference, so they’re not playing together all the time. But in those moments, they figure out something silly to do together. And that’s exactly why we have to enforce the screen-free unstructured time.

Lynn Lyons  26:35 

Well, and I’ll tell you a little therapist secret here. There have been many, many families that I’ve worked with where screens and phones for some reason became problematic. So there was some sort of incident or some sort of thing that happened where the parents finally said, we are taking away your phone for a month or we are removing this Xbox from the house for two months, and every single parent has come back to me and said, “I got my kid back.”

And what they meant by that was their child started to be more creative. They see a lift in mood, they see more engagement. They were pissed for the first few days just angry, brooding, whatever. “You’re the worst parent ever!” But they hung in there. And within a few days, it has happened over and over and over again in my practice. So just keep that in mind. I have seen it many, many times. And it’s pretty remarkable.

Robin Hutson  27:34 

Yeah, I believe it.

I talk about it a lot. So, I want to recommend what we use to manage screen time and Internet safety in our house. We use the Circle, and it ensures age appropriate filters for searches from little kids to teens, and it lets you set daily limits for different apps and social media. It also controls your kids’ Wi Fi schedules. Our link will get you $20 off of a Circle, and I highly recommend one.

Our Summer Guide To Family Fun

So as we’re talking about summer, you’re probably thinking, Oh gosh, what are we going to do the summer with the kids, particularly if you’re still juggling work, there’s going to be a lot more free time with the kids if a lot of the camps that they were going to do have been canceled or you’re not sending them.

So, one of the things that I know we all need to do is spend more time outdoors with our kids. There is a fantastic nature scavenger hunt, a friend of mine over at Stuffedsuitcase.com, Kimberly created. It’s a free download where you can use this to go and find all sorts of items on nature hikes or just looking out in your yard, and she’s done such a great job with this because she adjusts the scavenger hunt based on the ages of the kids.

So, whether or not they’re using a phone for photos, or it’s a simple free download for younger kids like a bingo experience. I think these are the kinds of things that can really make our outdoor time have more inspiration for fun, and I know Lynn, you really believe in the importance of being outside.

Lynn Lyons  29:01 

Of course, especially in the summer, and that scavenger hunt that can really did was just amazing. So, make sure you check that out. We’ve always been outdoorsy, my husband is probably even more outdoorsy than me in terms of camping overnight, but we’re huge hikers. So, we’ve been dragging our kids up mountains since they were little. One of the things that we did because those of you with little kids and sometimes even not so little kids, you know that they will poop out sometime along the hike— sometimes a tenth of the way in, sometimes it’s halfway up— but my friend told me about this when her kids were little, and I totally stole it.

She goes and gets a little package of those gold covered chocolate coins. You know, they’re like wrapped in gold foil, and she sneaks ahead a little bit, and she just throws the coins up into the woods area when you get to the end of your hike. So, then the kids have to find them. My kids believe at the end of the hike, there was some sort of magical fairy or creature who would send gold coins out for kids that completed the hike, total inspiration for them to keep moving and then everybody gets a little— it’s not the healthiest snack, but who cares? You just hiked up a mountain. So that really worked with my kids. So, steal that throw those gold coins. Yeah, you don’t even have to be going up a mountain. Even if you’re just walking around the block. Just throw some gold coins somewhere.

Summer 2020 Guide
Robin Hutson  30:27 

I have to laugh, Lynn, because, you know, you don’t take bubble baths. I take bubble baths. So, as you were describing this, I applied the exact same strategy taking my kids through museums and historic homes. The gold coin was always like “There are the most magical bookmarks waiting in the gift shop at the end of this gallery.”

Lynn Lyons  30:48 

Well, you know, magic… infusing magic is a wonderful thing. You know, I’m just thinking as you’re talking about this, my sons went to this school when they were younger, and the third graders would always take this hike up this mountain, and it was a big deal.

It was an overnight hike, there was a ton of thinking about what you were going to pack. And one of the things they did is they stopped at this brook, and everybody had a little bandana. They stopped at the brook; they would put the bandana in the water and then wrap it around their neck because it was usually pretty hot. And the teacher, Judy, did this whole thing about how the water in the brook was this energizing magical water. And when you tied it around your neck, it just would help you complete the hike. It was just so beautiful.

So that just reminded me of all of these little ways that we can be imaginative and magical with our kids. It’s sort of like remember when you would get new sneakers, and you are convinced that you could run faster. Anything that you do that makes it sort of fun and creates this aura of sort of specialness. It really just helps you get through these activities in a way that’s so memorable for your kids.

Robin Hutson  31:55 

When we stop, and we sort of reflect on what we’re about to do, and we design an experience with intention. It’s not about costing anything. It’s about putting thought into imagination and other things. As parents, it’s hard to remember to do that sometimes. So, this is like a good call for all of us to say what is one magical moment, we will design for our families that just requires love and imagination.

Lynn Lyons  32:21 

All of these ideas that I am telling you about, I didn’t come up with any of them. I took them from other parents who had these ideas. So I think there is great creativity in the group as a whole, which is why I love that we have compiled all these ideas from our listeners, because it’s really about borrowing and taking the creativity from somebody else to say, “Oh, I wouldn’t have thought of that.” I didn’t come up with the idea of the gold coins at the top of the mountain. But man, it comes in handy when somebody else is “Here, try this.”

Robin Hutson  32:53 

We are so thankful for the listeners who submitted ideas of how they’re planning on making summer magical for their kids with different activities. So, we’ll have a list you can go to our website and download this free guide, of course, and we have over 30 ideas, and I’m going to be stealing many of them. But I have to read one.

Lynn Lyons  33:14 

So, just so you know, it’s on a momsretreat.com.

Robin Hutson  33:17 

One woman wrote that we’ve always had a screen house, which seems like a screened-in porch that’s unattached, in our backyard so we can eat dinner without mosquitoes. We just bought a second screen house so we can have friends over for a side by side dinner party. And each family gets their own screen house. If friends aren’t comfortable with eating our food, it will be BYO everything. We just have to figure out the bathroom situation.

Well, I’ve got you covered because I am so excited of what we purchased on Amazon.

Lynn Lyons  33:49 

All right, let’s hear it.

Potty Talk

Robin Hutson  33:51 

So, having a portable potty is critical right now so that we can take these longer trips or be away from our homes and so I’ve ordered porta potties, just super simple camping potties that you can cover and line with an opaque garbage bag. And I ordered a pop-up privacy tent. So, whether or not we’re going to be using this and allowing friends who are coming over and or whether or not we’re going to go out and do some great day trips and picnics, I’m so excited that it means that we aren’t going to be anchored to our house. You know, there’s four of us, every time we leave to go on a great walk somewhere beautiful, someone’s going to have to go to the bathroom. So, this solves that. And I’m so excited.

Lynn Lyons  34:31 

I think the best part of your description is that you said that the bag is opaque. I think that I think that’s important for us all to remember that is not a clear, plastic bag. It’s an opaque bag.

Robin Hutson  34:44 

It’s not even a white one. We want the dark, big, and hefty.

Lynn Lyons  34:49 

I appreciate that visual. Thank you.

Robin Hutson  34:51 

Well actually the potty bags that come with most of those toilets are see-through, but tinted blue. And I was like “No thanks.”

Lynn Lyons  34:58 

Yeah, well, that’s good. That’s a good design feature whoever thought that.

Robin Hutson  35:01 

if you get the big bags and you just punch a hole through and push the bag through the toilet seat hole and drape the rest of the bag down to the ground, then it’s an entirely contactless experience.

Lynn Lyons  35:14 

Which we really want it to be. All right, well, gosh, those that is a valuable tip, and we hope that we have given you a lot of valuable tips to make your summertime more fun and to be outdoors and to be able to make some of those wonderful memories for your family and for your kids. Be outside, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy your family, take advantage of the creativity of other people.

Robin Hutson  35:41 

Right, no one has to parent in a vacuum. We should all be doing this together.

Lynn Lyons  35:45 

We should all be doing it together.

Robin Hutson  35:49 

Okay, I just want to add a little postscript to this episode. Lynn and I got together for a little social distancing huddle to talk about Season Two, and someone had to go to the bathroom. So, Lynn, what do you think of my potty system now?

Lynn Lyons  36:04 

I thought it was awesome. I’ll tell you it exceeded expectations. It was very peaceful. The opaque bag was a very important feature.

Robin Hutson  36:19 

I leave the house now with my purse, my phone, and my potty.

Lynn Lyons  36:22 

Unbelievable. Yeah, so highly recommended. I’m here to give my personal endorsement.

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