When step kids are disrespectful or crabby, the last thing you want to do is spend time with them. My own kids usually need one of three things when this behavior flares up: attention, sleep or a healthier diet.
Pretty simple, right? No family therapy session required.
While going through counseling has helped us evolve as a blended family, I need to continually remember that children don’t think like adults. They don’t understand and analyze their feelings like we do. When I overthink and turn everything into a chance to “understand our feelings,” I’m reminded by the kids that this isn’t always what they need. (See list above.) Instead, keep growing together as a family by following this advice: Enjoy your kids and have fun.
If you do this, your step kids (and birth children) become buddies instead of burdens. You’ll want to enjoy them rather than avoid them (AKA turn on the TV). You don’t have to break the family budget to do it, either.
Here are some fun summer activities the whole family can enjoy:
Go fishing.
Pack a picnic and walk to the nearest park to enjoy.
Go to the library and take out books on native plants and flowers. Take a nature walk and see how many you can find.
Read a chapter book together each morning from the front porch.
Take the mess outdoors for an easy art project. Family Fun has a lot of ideas.
Teach them how to sew on a button.
Go for a bike ride.
Walk to the ice cream store.
Make a fort in the yard with old sheets.
Make oatmeal cookies and leave a plate on a neighbor’s doorstep. Here is my family’s favorite recipe.
Make Old-Fashioned lemonade. In a gallon pitcher, combine the juice of 6 lemons, 1 cup sugar and 6 cups water. Stir and chill.
Use leaf rubbings to make homemade cards for a family member and pop them in the mail.
Spend the day in your pajamas and have a movie marathon.
Plant a flower pot. Many plants and containers are on clearance right now.
Enjoy spa pedicure at home. Fill the tub with warm water. Buff feet and slather on the moisturizer. After five minutes, soak in the tub, then wash and rinse. Paint. Pretty!
Run through the sprinkler.
Attend an outdoor concert.
Sit outside with sketchbooks and draw something from nature.
Take turns writing a children’s story.
Play a board game like Apples to Apples.
Create a clarity project together.
Draw a maze on the driveway with sidewalk chalk.
Play hopscotch.
Jump rope.
Assemble shishkabobs together.
Volunteer to walk dogs at the Humane Society.
Join in and play a video game.
Eat something “forbidden” for lunch – banana splits, smores, licorice – or let them choose.
Fly a kite.
Play mini-golf.
Fill out next month’s birthday cards.
Wash the car.
Make tie dyed t-shirts.
Write your own Mad Libs, then have kids fill in the blanks.
Play in the rain.
Watch a storm roll in.
Make your own drums and shakers using recycled food containers. Now play them as a group.
Visit the farmer’s market. Let them carry the basket or bag.
Go to the park and swing.
Create a book of favorite summer memories. Take turns writing them down or let younger children illustrate.
The gift of spending time with children is as free and beautiful as a summer afternoon.
To your enjoyment.

(photo courtesy Cali2Okie)

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