Avoid the sweat. Keep them wet.

Two of the most annoying words ever spoken by kids with great imaginations, plenty to play with, and backyards that beckon: “I’m booorrrred.” Hot, bored kids can have a chilling effect on any parent’s mood.

Water is a natural, plentiful mood elevator. That is, unless it’s preceded by a question or request along the lines of, “Please take a shower and wash your hair,” or “Did you load the dishwasher?” So let it flow in novel ways when the heat is on.

– If you are watering your garden or your lawn, water your kids, too, with their clothes on. More fun than  bathing suits and a sprinkler.

– Fill the kitchen sink, turn it over to a child, and don’t even think about what the floor is going to look like. It is more important that rocks get washed, dolls get new hairstyles, princesses have a pool party.

– Yes, water balloons. No explanation necessary.

– Watering cans are great for plants. Also for kids. Let them water each other until soaked.

– Beat the heat with an indoor swim on a rainy day. Change of pace, change of mood.

– Fill four bowls of water, provide cups, and say, “Play.”

– Water balloons, sponges, ice cubes. Great on their own. Great for relays.

– Got rocks? Let the kids find them, wash them, dry them and then paint them. Small rocks – make family. Big rock? Door stopper or “Welcome” rock.

– Offer a “play bath” or shower. No washing necessary. Definitely no shampoos.

– Water shooters (don’t have to be guns if you are opposed). No shooting above the neck.

– Hose. Soap. Rags. Let the kids wash the car. You can take it to the carwash later.

Yes, I know, these ideas are all wet. But they also trigger a happiness hormone that lasts at least an hour!