The Good Oil: Edition 8
Greetings everyone, and welcome back to The Good Oil!
If this is the first time you’re receiving this newsletter, my name’s Adrian Crawford and I’m a content strategist here at CBDistillery® as well as a native Australian, the father of a 3-year-old girl and an enthusiast of all things hemp-derived.
This month’s edition is a truly collaborative affair, with many of us juggling work and childcare responsibilities as summer break falls upon us. So read on to find out our favorite parenting hacks as well as a Summer Vacation Survival Guide!
A Summer Vacation Survival Guide
Parents, we hear you. Summer break can be challenging for even the most Zenlike caregivers. You managed to get the household humming like a well-oiled machine during the school year, but now the schedule is out the window and with it any semblance of rhythm or routine.
If you're staring down the barrel of three months of trepidation at the thought of the kids being home all day, fear not: We’ve got five hot tips to make summer vacation a breeze.
Please note: This is intended to be taken with a grain of salt, because it was written with tongue firmly in cheek.
Make Everything a Contest
Kids love competition. They have boundless energy, and winning a race or a game gives them immediate gratification. Foot races in the yard are a great way to burn some energy and fill up those summer days, and hide-and-seek is a popular one in my house if it's too hot or too rainy outdoors. Alternatively, this can also be used to your advantage. My toddler wouldn't pick up her room if there was a million bucks or a truckload of candy on the line, but if I make it a competition to see who can tidy up a pile of books or stuffed animals or toys the fastest? Boy, you'd think the president (or Miss Rachel) was coming to visit.
And speaking of gratification, if you have a fitness tracker of some kind you'll be familiar with the graphical congratulations many of them offer when you hit your daily goals. Apple Watches and Fitbits show fireworks, for example. Why not strap your tracker to your kiddo's wrist, tell them if they run around enough they'll see fireworks, and let them loose?
I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, all I wanted to do was be older. Now, as a father of a three-year-old, it’s very clear that nothing is more interesting than the absolutely inane tasks mom and dad do. My kiddo loves pretending to go to the doctor, “work” on an old keyboard I have laying around, play-acting visits to the grocery store or cooking in her toy kitchen. But if those ideas aren’t doing the trick and you’ve got a million things to do, perhaps your little one can play grownup by doing exciting things like “the dishes,” “folding laundry” or “pulling weeds!”
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Fun
Google is full of simple, delicious recipes that are great for kids to get involved with that don't put them in danger of burning their little fingers. No-bake cookies, fruit parfaits and even "walking tacos" are simple, tasty and mostly hazard-free. And as an added bonus, they can bring a tray of these thoughtful treats to bribe their aunts and uncles, grandparents or neighbors in exchange for free childcare while mom and dad get some work done!
Enjoy the Outdoors
When all of the other options have been exhausted, Mother Nature is here to help. There’s a world of entertainment waiting right outside your door! My little one is obsessed with bugs and would stare at a trail of ants on the patio for a week straight if we let her. The great outdoors also offers plenty of opportunity for imaginative fun, the aforementioned contests, and even making mundane daily tasks like lunchtime more exciting – make it a picnic instead! Bonus tip: For extra parental sanity and hours of peace and quiet, close and lock the door to the backyard and draw the curtains once they’re outside! (I kid. Unless...no, just kidding. Unless...)
Keep a Schedule
Children thrive on routine, because let's face it: life can be unpredictable, and unpredictable can be scary! I personally can relate to this. So now that class is done for summer, it can be hard for the little ones to initially get their heads out of the "today is a school day" mentality and into, well, "today's not a school day." By loosely scheduling your kid's vacation days to include all the activities above, you're giving them a sense of structure that their developing brains crave.
Expert’s Corner: Parents Edition
Each month in this space I speak with an expert in their field to learn more about what they do and why they do it. This time, however, all bets are off. With summer break in full swing, who better to speak with than my coworkers who are fellow parents? Let’s find out their favorite parenting hacks to make it through those long summer days.
Ellese Symons, Senior Vice President of Marketing
My golden nugget of parenting wisdom: have your kids fit into your life and the things you love to do and not the other way around.
Let me be real with you. Park benches and jungle gyms aren't exactly my cup of tea. Sure, we hit the local playground occasionally to conquer those monkey bars, but it's not the be-all and end-all of my parenting existence. Instead, my husband and I have actively involved our little ones in the activities we love like golfing, skiing, swimming, dining, and so much more. By involving our kids, we haven’t had to give up those things we’ve always loved to do, while also opening up our kids' worlds!
But be mindful—you need to embrace the chaos that comes with bringing a toddler to the golf course or a fancy restaurant. Think of it as diving headfirst into a wild, laughter-filled whirlwind that adds a bit more flavor to your life. It absolutely has for my husband and I and makes us feel like we haven't lost our identities as the young, fun, and crazy kids we used to be!
Luna Miller, Customer Service Lead
I always grab a few extra packages of glow sticks when I see them at the store. I throw a few different colors in the bathtub, turn off the lights and pop on a funky playlist! "Dance party bath time" is a ton of fun for all of us and makes a normal night feel special.
Adrian Crawford, Content Strategist
As much as I know that 'the experts' say an hour of screen time per day is the absolute limit for young kids, lest you cook their little brains, sometimes it's inevitable that the TV will go on to occupy my little one after naptime while mom's at work and I still have a couple hours' worth of emails to write for CBDistillery®. The tough part is turning the TV off at the end of the work day without causing a meltdown, but lately I've managed to smooth the transition from "TV time" to "playtime with dad" by suggesting we role play as the characters from whichever Disney+ show is the flavor of the month.
That way we get to run around the backyard emulating kitty superheroes (or whomever), burn some energy and use some creativity at the same time. Maybe it's a long shot, but hopefully This One Small Trick works for you as well as it does for me!
RaeLynn Watson, Retail Marketing Manager
Have a laundry chute in your office so the kids can bug you discreetly during meetings. (Editor's note: A picture speaks a thousand words.)
When I was growing up, I was all about building with Lego. R.I.P. to my parents' feet I guess, because I had blocks upon blocks upon blocks and loved to build structures for my G.I. Joe action figures to hide out in. For obvious reasons (adulthood) I've been fairly disconnected from the toy scene for a good 25 years now, but at a glance it appears that Lego is now more focused on model builds than branching out and creating your own masterpieces.
An acquaintance gifted us a huge back of Lego pieces last year, but our then-Miss 2 didn't quite have the hand-eye coordination to put the tiny bricks together. The mismatched Lego sack went in the trash pickup pile, but we eventually replaced it with a really cool set of magnetized tiles from everyone's favorite online-bookstore-turned-ubiquitous-department-store. They're brightly colored, big enough for little hands to wrangle, and they snap together and pull apart easily (as distinct from those tight-fitting Lego blocks).
Our little "magnetiles" kit, as she likes to call it, has enough pieces to build a nicely sized farmhouse, castle or rocket ship with room for her favorite little figurines, and they're just as fun to build with as they are to demolish when the novelty has worn off. They're super affordable on Amazon (I think we paid around $25 for ours, and there are larger kits with more pieces available) and they're hours of fun. Even better, they're incredibly satisfying for grown-ups to build with as well, in a very ASMR kind of way.
The Last Drops
Well that’s it for this edition of The Good Oil! Thanks for joining me once again, and I hope your Fourth of July weekend is a blast!