Ice cream for dinner: A summer rules checklist for parents

  • Jun. 27, 2017 1:50 p.m.

A “summer rules” checklist is bopping around on social media, ostensibly for parents to keep their kids from mainlining electronics for three months straight.

It goes like this:

“Have you: Made your bed? Brushed your teeth? Brushed your hair? Gotten dressed? Had breakfast?

“Plus,” it continues, “20 minutes of reading. 20 minutes of writing/coloring. Clean up one room. Played outside for 20 minutes. Made/built something creative. Helped someone in the family.

“Then,” it concludes, “you can use electronics.”

I plan to use this list for my own kids who finally, three weeks into June, have finished school.

With a few tweaks, though. Most summer days, I don’t care if they brush their hair. I’m not much of a stickler about made beds either. And 20 minutes strikes me as a paltry amount of time to play outside.

So while I search for ways to adjust the list, I find my mind wandering toward how I should spend my summer days.

Summer confounds me each year. Too often, it doesn’t adopt a different-enough pace from the rest of the year. We’re still distracted; we’re just distracted by different things — YouTube instead of homework. We’re still rushing; we’re just rushing to different places — camp instead of school.

Some of that’s necessary. Like a lot of parents, my husband and I don’t have summers off.

But I want to find moments, however small, to separate these next 10 weeks into something distinct and, at the risk of applying too much pressure, sacred.

A checklist feels like a chance to do that. Here’s how mine looks, with the understanding that some of these items might happen only once during the whole summer, not once a day.

Summer rules

A “summer rules” checklist is being passed around on social media for parents to use at home with their kids. (thirtyhandmadedays.com)

HAVE YOU:

— Written that thing you’ve been meaning to write? Not for work; that doesn’t count. I’m talking a thank-you card, a journal entry, a letter to my aunt, an attempt at a poem, a short story to read to my kids.

— Played a board game? Sorry! is, to my mind, a perfect way to while away an hour. Suspense, crushing disappointment followed by gleeful revenge, very little math.

— Baked something? From a box is fine.

— Read a new voice? I tend to seek out my favorite writers for summer reading. This year I want to fill my brain with perspectives that I don’t already share, from writers whose lives look nothing like mine. (It feels particularly essential right now.)

— Weeded? This is the item most likely to happen only once during the whole summer.

Plus …

— Stared at the sky. This works equally well during the day (cloud shapes!) or at night (stars!). Even better if I can catch the sun rising or setting.

— Walked down a new block. I like to take in front stoops and imagine the conversations they’ve witnessed. I like to count trees and wonder if any are climbable. And I will resist the urge to feel bad if everyone’s flowers look better than mine.

— Bought a vegetable I’ve never tried. Preferably from a farmers market, one of my very favorite parts of summer. And I will try to let this be my inspiration to also find recipes I’ve never tried.

— Made ice cream from scratch. The rock-salt, take-turns-with-the-hand-crank, utterly-time-consuming, full-fat, real-sugar, unsurpassably delicious kind, obviously.

— Eaten that ice cream for dinner. Especially if I succeeded at buying and eating a new vegetable within the same week.

— Given myself a pass for failing to do any/all of the above. Come on. It’s summer.

Just Posted

Thousands expected at memorial for fallen police officer in Abbotsford, B.C.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The streets of Abbotsford, B.C., will be lined with… Continue reading

One person dead, five others injured in early-morning crash in Kingston, Ont.

KINGSTON, Ont. — A man who was checking the damage on his… Continue reading

Gus is a special, collaborative art exhibit inspired by motherhood

The portrait display by mother and son is showing in Red Deer

Robotics challenge sparks student interest in Red Deer

Student-built robots compete in fun challenge

Accused murderer tells all to Mr. Big undercover officer

Joshua Frank tells undercover police officer he shot the Klaus family

WATCH: Central Middle School students’ Christmas tree

A group of Central Middle School students are set to show off… Continue reading

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month