Summer can be a double-edged sword for many single parents. With the kids free from school, there’s plenty of time for quality bonding, but there are also a lot of unstructured hours to fill.
Preparation is key … and when that doesn’t work, the real trick is to be flexible.
Lifestyle expert Kerri Zane has assembled five easy suggestions for single parents of kids of all ages.
Summer and the single mom. It’s 85 days—give or take—of glorious uninterrupted free time with your children. However, the days of two-parent, long-duration vacations are a thing of the past, and even the finest day camp experience cannot stop that ever popular childhood battle cry, “What are we gonna do now, mom?”
Single moms today need an arsenal of close to home activities to keep their young ones engaged.
1. Ride in Tandem
There is a huge push for citizens to join the President’s Active Lifestyle Program. In support of that program, cities all over the country are transitioning their highways into bike-friendly boulevards. Whether your child rides in a bike buggy, a tandem bike, or cycles independently, biking is a great way to get exercise, take in the sights of your city and enjoy the outdoors this summer.
With extensive bike infrastructure, bike-pedestrian bridges, greenways and bike-share programs, Minneapolis is considered one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country.
To ride bikes with a view, many coastal California towns have an ocean-front bike path. Long Beach, California, recently instituted a “BFD” program, aka Bike-Friendly Business Districts.
Hop on your bike and visit the local retailer for helmet-hair discounts.
2. Go Back to School
At first glance, going back to school for the summer is the last thing your children would think of doing. Signing up for an unusual class takes the “school” out of learning. Try something the two of you have never done before like photography, painting, cooking, decoupage, knitting, or crochet.
There are also many venues that will allow pre-arranged behind-the-scenes experiences. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California will organize sleepovers with the sharks. Several zoos across the country invite children to become zookeepers for the day. The Bronx Zoo in New York has a full range of youth and summer programs.
3. Get Wet and Wild
Nothing is better for some single parent and child bonding then a lazy day by the water. It doesn’t matter if it’s a beach, bay, lake, poolside or a giant-sized water park, kids of all ages appreciate the time to bask in the sun. Be sure to take plenty of sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat, and soak in the cool H2O.
Get more help: Single Parent Travel Tips
But most important, don’t just sit by the sidelines. Forget about your hairdo and get in the water with your kids—your children will appreciate it.
For a quick getaway try the pools at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. There are three of them, a wave pool, a lazy river and a real sand beach.
Or for a unique experience, visit The Crater in Midway, Utah. It is the country’s deepest and largest hot spring located inside a natural cave. It is the only warm-water scuba diving destination in the continental United States.
4. Splurge on a Spending Spree
You may find a trips to the mall glorious, and with teen children, shopping can be a tete-a-tete activity. But for little ones, it’s often a big fat snooze fest. Many shopping centers have taken this into consideration and created play areas for stroller-sized children.
Do some online homework and search out those malls in your area. Then organize a day with several other single moms and tag-team shopping. Two of you can sit and watch the kids on the in mall jungle gyms while the rest of your crew takes care of the buying business.
If you want to combine travel with shopping there are several malls in the United States that have taken many attractions beside the stores. The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota houses a Nickelodeon Universe Amusement Park and Underwater World Aquarium. The Galleria in Houston, Texas has a year-round indoor ice skating rink.
5. Spoil Them … And You, Too!
Ahh, spa day. Girls are never too young to enjoy the spa and moms are never too old. There are plenty of day spas that have popped up all over the country and a simple mani/ pedi is a great kid-friendly combo.
For an extra special getaway The Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa also has spa services, but in a sacred Native American setting.
For a more budget option, the Tennessee Fitness Spa in Waynesboro, Tennessee, offers simple accommodations, but also full range of spa services and fitness classes for $815 per person a week in a double room.
Wherever you decide to spend your lazy summer days with your child make the most of it. All you need are the keys to the car to turn mommy-and-me time into cherished memories.
By Kerri Zane for PeterGreenberg.com. For more advice on health, beauty and travel, visit Kerri Zane on the Web at KerriZane.com.
Related Links on PeterGreenberg.com:
- Single Parent Travel Tips
- 10 Tips for Single Parents Traveling with a Partner
- 6 Great Back-to-School Vacation Ideas
- Kid-Friendly Educational Travel Experiences
- Kid-Friendly Travel: Immersive and Submersive Experiences
- Family Travel Section