While spending time here at our summer getaway, we have tried several times to take advantage of some really fun, classic evening activities down on the campus of the YMCA conference center: family sing-alongs, campfires, family art night, game night, and going out for ice cream after dinner (they have really yummy ice cream there!). These activities are geared for families with young children, but they don't start until 7 or 7:30 pm. Which is fine if you're on vacation for just a few days with your family, but we live here all summer.
For us, these events (as fun as they are) just make bedtime absolutely unbearable. The behavior the next day is unspeakable. When our children go past their bedtimes, they seem to catch a second wind and a bratty disposition. They do NOT want to go to bed, even though their regular bedtime was two hours ago! So we're realizing that as great as these activities seem, having the kids stay up past their bedtime is just not worth it. Our kids really, REALLY need their schedules to stay predictable. When things become unpredictable, we all end up unhappy. There is usually yelling or threatening involved, from one or both sides. What a way to end a day, huh?
So we have decided that fireworks are not on our list of "Can't Miss" things this year. The kids marched in the "Shortest 4th in the North Parade" with their children's program groups yesterday. One marched with the "Wee Woozles" and the other marched and hopped with the "Crickets." It was classic! Today we might go visit an historic fort, where they do reenactments and cool activities with the kids. We made homemade vanilla ice cream with the kids yesterday to enjoy on this beautiful 4th of July, complete with homemade hot fudge sauce.
In other words, I'm not going to feel guilty about nixxing the fireworks tonight. Up here in the mountains, it stays light until almost 10:00 at night...firworks begin at 9:30. The display is put on by a town about a 1/2 hour away from us. We are SOOOoooo not doing that with our preschoolers!!!! They will still wake up at 6 am (or earlier) no matter how late they stay up, so we're going to preserve our sanity and stick to the regularly scheduled program. I'm gonna miss seeing those beautiful fireworks, though!
(Correction: I just checked the website and realized fireworks begin at 10PM!...seriously, that is WAY too late!!!!)
Happy 4th of July! How are you celebrating with your little ones?