Summer Nights

Without even looking at the calendar, I can confidently tell you that summer has arrived in South Carolina.  Hot temperatures and the bright sun make daily outdoor adventures with small children a little more challenging than usual.  One of the biggest challenges is that little ones are more sensitive to the sun than grownups.  Children get overheated faster than adults and can be more susceptible to heat stroke and heat exhaustion.  This doesn’t mean that you have to stay indoors all summer if you live in a hot climate though.  It just means that you need to take some precautions, like taking plenty of water breaks and adjusting the times of day you are outside.

In our family, we like to go to shaded parks early in the morning before the heat of the day hits.  The kids can all play for awhile in the cooler temperatures and then take a break for a picnic lunch.  I always make sure to pack plenty of cold water and ask my son to take plenty of breaks before we stop for lunch.  We use a camelbak backpack so he can just run up to me, take a couple of sips, and quickly get back to the business of playing.  After lunch, we usually head home for a homemade popsicle (just his normal green smoothie frozen in a mold), a shower to cool off and erase the grime of park play, more water, and a nap.

Morning Family WalkAs the weather gets warmer, these brief mornings outside just aren’t enough, but the afternoons can be too hot to be outside, even if we are playing in the water.  This is when we really try to make sure to get in our after dinner family walk.  We can put our son in the jogging stroller with some water and an after dinner treat (usually some fruit or a carrot) and get a little more outside time as it begins to cool off.  When he was younger, we put him in his Ergo, Moby, or Boba carrier and set off.  As he has grown, he likes these evening strolls in his stroller (probably because this is the only time we ever use a stroller).  The walk helps our son to begin calming down before bedtime and lets the adults get some exercise.  Best of all, the whole family can enjoy some good conversation during the walk.

As the weather heats up, don’t forget the beauty of the setting sun, the rising moon, the fireflies, and the cricket’s song as the night descends and we prepare for bed.  Make family walks a part of your nightly ritual as you enjoy the fleeting summer nights.

The sun always sets to the sound of a song. It makes the bugs dance as they all sing along.  With tippity, tappety, clickety click-its, it’s bumpy and jumpy, the song of the crickets.

(from Little Cricket’s Song by Joanna Barkan)