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Jane Roper,the author of the memoir "Double Time: How I Survived — and Mostly Thrived — Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins," knows how rewarding and challenging the summer months with children can be. And now that her daughters are 6 years old, she has spent many a warm month keeping both of them occupied. "If you’ve got preschool or school-aged kids like I do, you may be dreading the end of the school year just a teensy bit," she notes. "But fear not: There are plenty of ways to retain your sanity and have fun in the process." Roper shared her tips with Metro.

Just add water. Hot, humid weather makes my children miserable, which in turn makes me miserable. When temperatures soar, we hit parks and playgrounds with water spray or wading areas. When the girls were younger, I’d give them bowls, spoons and measuring cups, and let them “cook” with ice. And if all else fails, there’s always ice cream.DOUBLE TIME

Swap. Set up a regular play date exchange with a friend: their place this Friday afternoon, your place the next. If you’re so inclined, bring a bottle of wine or other treat for the host when you pick up your kids. Especially if yours, like mine, are, er… “spirited.”

Be a tourist. Summer is a great time to explore your own backyard — the parks, museums and attractions you don’t normally get to. Schedule a weekly “field trip” to someplace within an hour’s ride or drive that you and/or your kids have never been before. (This includes exotic new malls and movie theaters if you’re craving air conditioning.)

Make them read. Almost every public library has some kind of summer reading program — even for the picture-book set. Check out what’s available near you, and designate some independent reading time every day. While the kids read, you can dive into your own summer reading. Note: The "50 Shades" trilogy is probably not advisable. (“What’s your book about, Mommy?”)

 

Let them be bored. Resist the urge to schedule every last minute. When my kids complain that they’re bored, I say, “Well, it’s OK to be bored.” And within five minutes, they usually come up with some amazingly creative game or activity on their own. Other times, they just lie on the couch like giant throw pillows for a while. Either way, you get a break and they survive. And it’s all about survival, right?

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