For many, summer is a season to relax and chill out. Most people spend their time off with family. But is it possible to be a parent and actually have some relaxation time? I say, YES!!

The easiest way to achieve this goal is to take steps early on that encourage independence in your children. This includes everything from sleeping, to feeding, to playtime. Kids actually feel empowered being left to their own devices without mom and dad hovering over them every second. Unstructured independent play fosters self-expression and creativity. And let’s not forget about the added the bonus for parents- it naturally results in more time for you to sit back, relax, and enjoy some adult time.

From as early as 4 months old, most babies can learn to fall asleep on their own without being rocked or held by you. Getting into the habit of putting your child down awake and encouraging her to fall asleep without your presence will also help your child fall back asleep unattended should she awaken during the night. I know all parents, including myself, treasure those moments watching our children drift off to sleep in our arms, but in the long-run, having a child who knows how to fall asleep on her own and also get back to sleep is an added perk! It also means that on a lazy summer day, you can take a snooze while your child is napping without spending unnecessary time getting her to fall sleep.

Between 4 and 6 months of old most babies can start holding their bottles on their own and by 10 months most babies begin self-feeding finger foods. Let them do this! It will result in a toddler who can feed himself thereby freeing up more time for you during the meal. It also gives your child a great sense of accomplishment. You will often hear that proud exclamation, “Look I did it all by myself!”
While you should always attend to your child during mealtime (especially to monitor for choking), a child who self feeds will enable you to actually join the family at the table. And perhaps afterwards you can relax and enjoy the warm summer air together as a family.

Continue reading this parenting article by Dr. Alanna Levine on Summer Infant