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Nice Weather Can Help Parents Connect with Kids

Getting outdoors can be an easy way to spend quality one-on-one time with your child.

This past weekend, I turned off the A/C and opened all the windows. I welcomed the cool fresh air as summer finally seemed to take a sabbatical to allow fall to make an early debut. Not taking a chance that this may just be a teaser, I took full advantage of the beautiful weather.

It was the perfect end to a very stressful and long week at work. It also turned out to be an opportunity to spend dedicated time with my son, enjoying the outdoors together.

We made a great dinner at home on Friday, followed by a night walk around the neighborhood. The sky was clear, and the moon was bright. My son talked about his school project that he needed to complete for Monday. He gave me an education about animal and plant cells and all the different parts he needed to make into a 3-D model. 

The kid loves anything to do with science and engineering, so it was endearing to see him just rattle on and on about membranes, mitochondria, DNA, ribosomes — really, I know more about cells than I care to now. But it was time invested in listening to what he was excited to share with me. We finished off with a late movie sitting in front of the open windows.

The next morning, we woke up to a surprisingly chilly house. Thoughts of upcoming holidays came to mind since the mood was set. After a nice breakfast, we took our dog for a good walk. Both the dog and my son had an extra spring in their step, an instant result of a steady brisk breeze. We talked about Halloween, costumes and plans for trick-or-treating.  

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon working on his project out on the front lawn. Spray paint, foil, pipe cleaners and other supplies were strewn all over the grass. The only assistance he asked for was my steady hand to cut out a few precise templates. Other than that, I kept him company while he diligently finished his structure.

Once his project was out of the way, I asked my son if he wanted to call a friend to invite over or take to a movie. I wanted him to have the rest of his weekend to have fun. He looked at me and said, “But I’m having a nice weekend with you.”

I can’t quite explain how sweet his words were to me. I stole a hug and suggested we grab lunch to go. We ate in the park, where we talked about school, clubs he may be interested in joining and his band class. It was a much-needed reprieve from my everyday obligations to just have uninterrupted one-on-one time with him.

On Sunday, we went to a different park, where we discovered single, double and quad bike rentals (along with kayaks, paddle boats and more). I rented a cool bike for my son to ride the trails and enjoyed just watching him have a great time.

A simple invitation from a change in temperature turned out to be a very special weekend. Life is busy and we all have things to do, but do yourself a favor and unplug and get outside. Your kids need it and so do you.

Ready to hit the great outdoors? See photos, descriptions and reviews of local parks in the Gulfport Patch directory.

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