Four summer habits to bring your family closer

Afr Am kids beach RGB dMG3gcEat outside every night. Whether you have a state-of-the art outdoor kitchen area or a simple picnic table in the backyard, eating outdoors is a daily opportunity to enjoy the summer weather. It also leads to kids running off and playing outside—giving parents an opportunity to connect and unwind in the fresh air. But unless you make outdoor eating a daily habit, you risk enjoying it only when you entertain friends for a barbecue.

Go to the nearest lake. There are few day-trips easier (and cheaper) to plan and execute than packing a beach bag and picnic lunch and heading to a nearby lake. Kids and lakes are a natural fit, but many children are growing up swimming only in pools—and they’re missing out on the joy that comes with sand, frogs, and chasing minnows with a net.

Don’t be afraid of the dark. The darkness of winter is cold and harsh, but summer’s darkness is soft and inviting. Take your kids out at night in the summer and show them the stars. Build a fire in the backyard and roast marshmallows. Go camping.

Bike together. If your bikes are gathering dust in your garage, dust them off, pump up the tires and find the bike paths in your area. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a community where events are close by, try to bike—rather than drive—to go out to dinner, see a parade, or attend a festival. An added benefit is the free parking.

—by Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2012 Best in Class award from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past three years running. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

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