Five reasons parents shouldn’t cry about the end of summer

No, really. The end of summer is a good thing. Seriously. Derek Abma explains.


By the time you get around to reading this, Labour Day will be in plain view, if not already come and gone. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Sure, the outdoors are becoming less enjoyable. You’ve noticed by now, I’m sure, the colder evenings. Perhaps you’re already wearing a sweater or jacket during the daytime. From there, this gradually turns into the land of ice and snow — sometimes not so gradually.

However, here are five reasons why you, as a parent, should embrace this time of year:

Your kids are going back to school. There is less strain on the brain when you’re not required to think about how your child is going to fill each and every minute of each and every day. That’s what teachers are for, and they’re back to fulfilling this role while hopefully passing on some knowledge in the process. No more looking for different day camps you hope your kids like, then having to pay for them. This might not be as much of a problem if your child is in daycare all summer. But even then, a funny thing happens when they’re doing the same thing, day-in, day-out: they get bored and you have to hear about it. And if your kids are old enough to stay home unsupervised all day, there’s good news; they won’t be staying home unsupervised all day anymore.

Hockey is starting and outdoor sports are ending. How did you enjoy those soccer and baseball games in the rain, with that cold wind blowing in from wherever bad weather comes from? Enough of that. Hockey rinks are cold, yes, but they are predictable. Wear your jacket, bring a blanket and relax. It’s not going to rain on you in there, and the wind will not blow. Heck, it won’t even snow on you inside that artificial-ice palace, regardless of what’s happening outside. There is some football getting underway about now as well, and that’s an outside sport. But if your kids are into that, let’s assume they — and you — are tough enough to deal with whatever the weather has to muster.

You don’t have to go to the park as much. Some kids are park addicts. They would go there all day, every day, if you’d let them. Not all kids have well-balanced interests that include a good deal of inside screen time. And if they are young enough, you might be the one who has to watch them while they’re at the park. There is no air conditioning at these places. They are often full of sand and bugs, not to mention bird poop. And other people’s kids are often there, raising the noise level to beyond the sum of its parts. It doesn’t take long in these conditions for a parent to turn into a sunburned, bug-bitten shell of their former self. During the fall, there will still be some park visits in the evenings and on weekends. But with each reddening leaf and drop in the average temperature, such occasions will become increasingly rare.

No more summer trips to plan. Put the camper in storage, leave those passports in the safe, and don’t worry about depending on that Trivago weirdo to tell you how to search for kid-friendly hotels. Summer holidays are over. Now you can enjoy all your home has to offer, from the big-screen TV in the basement to your warp-speed Internet and even your homemade-bread maker, if that’s what you’re into. If you’ve got windows, get ready to enjoy some falling leaves — from your own easy chair.

Next spring is a little closer. The point being that everything I said up until this point is part of an elaborate denial mechanism. I don’t like this any more than you. The sun, the warmth, the beers in the backyard — it’s all coming to an end. Sure, Mother Nature kicked Old Man Winter out of the house for a few months, but he’s on his way back. And when he gets here, he’ll be the same miserable old coot we knew last year and the year before that, until our kind Mother inevitably comes to her senses and sends him packing again. Summer, we’re going to miss you.