Life Is Like A Day At The Waterpark


One of the best things about being around kids is the excuse to do things you think you’re too old for. Another is that you get to experience these things anew through their eyes.

We took our niece to a waterpark* for the very first time, and we couldn’t be more proud of her choices. We would all do well to apply her decisions to life in general.

1. Start Early

We got to the waterpark right when it opened and had the place almost to ourselves with no lines for the first few hours. There were plenty of lockers, lounge chairs, and rafts. Even better, it was cool not hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk… yet.

With most things in life, it’s better to be early than late. It’s less stressful and more productive, and there’s usually better food, a better seat, a better view, or another intangible perk.

2. Be Prepared

We filled up on snacks in the car on the way there so we didn’t have to spend the first hour finding lunch. We  also brought our own water shoes, towels, and sunscreen, which also saved time and made the day much less expensive.

A little advance planning can save oodles of time and energy over trying to purchase items at the last minute. Plus, it’s easier to get items that fit and are exactly what you want.

3. Be Scared

The waterpark was huge and some of the slides were big and intimidating. Our little hero didn’t let it hold her back. She watched for a while as others exited the tubes, and we even asked for their opinions. After hearing from multiple sources that a particular slide was “tons of fun” and “awesome” and that kids several years younger were enjoying it, she decided to give it a go. And then another. And another. And another…

There’s no shame in being afraid of the unknown as long as you face the fear and question whether it’s justified. Gathering information and asking for advice help you make better decisions.

4. Take Breaks

The slides and the wavepool were exhilarating and also exhausting. Eventually, we could see crankiness encroaching on our fun, and it was time for some self-care. Shade, lunch, a big drink, and a little relaxation brought forth a second wind.

When you decide to just ‘power through,’ you’re more prone to accidents, injuries, and mistakes. Even in an office, a short walk, a snack, or a breath of fresh air can work wonders for your concentration, productivity, and attitude.

5. Schedule Maintenance

When the sky is clear and blue, the sun is bright, and the temperature is over 110°, sunscreen doesn’t last forever. We stopped several times to reapply it, and while the process isn’t a lot of fun, it’s more than worth the effort.

As with planning ahead, scheduling maintenance can keep you healthy and happy. Whether it’s an oil change for your car or a cleaning for your teeth, a little routine care can prevent disaster.

6. Focus On Your Favorites

After trying several slides, the half-pipe, the wave pool, the lily pad challenge, and the lazy river, our niece had figured out what her favorites were. We made sure to circle back to these frequently as we continued to explore.

Many people today are overextended and overwhelmed. While trying new things is great, don’t let them take priority over the things you truly value. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses and participate in every single activity or fad. So pick a few new ones and also remember to appreciate the ones you already love.

7. Eat Ice Cream

The day was a smashing success and we enjoyed celebrating with a great kid. So of course we had ice cream for dinner. What else are aunts and uncles good for?

Rewarding good behavior and good decisions is the best way to reinforce them. Ice cream might not be your preferred treat, but a bubble bath, a massage, a good book, or a nap might be just what you need to encourage you to keep making progress toward your goals.


*I highly recommend Sunsplash for a great summer outing. There are some affiliate links, but this is not a sponsored post and we did not receive any special discounts.

What other life lessons have you learned from your kids lately? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

This post contains affiliate links. Learn more here.

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Comments 10

  1. Love the connections here Julie! Sounds like your niece is a pretty smart young lady! I think people skip #4 (or don’t do it enough!) At major amusement parks parents pay a lot of money – and I understand them trying to get everyone to power through the day. A few key breaks are important though and can totally help extend the day! Great points!

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      She’s amazing, Vicki! And it’s so much fun to watch the kiddos grow up. None of the 12 in the next generation has reached teenagerhood yet, though, so you’ll have to give me survival tips to prepare.

  2. So glad you had fun. I had a blast with my nephews when they were small. They’d come over with sleeping bags for our sleepovers since I lived in a studio in Manhattan and we’d “camp out”. Alas, no little ones in the family now until one of our nieces or nephews has a baby.

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      They’re tons of fun. There are 6 kiddos in town and 6 out of state, and we just heard we’re getting one of the out-of-staters sans parents for a week next year. Yay! If you want some, I’m sure I can hook you up 🙂

  3. Sounds like a great day! We had a day at the amusement park this year – this year our kids were off with their friends and my husband and I had the day to ride by ourselves. So weird, but we outlasted them all!

    I love the analogies in this post. I am particularly fond of #3. Fear can really hold you back in life, but if you take the time to assess the fear, you are likely to make an informed decision (rather than assumptions).

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      It sounds like you’ve done a great job parenting. Your kids are self-sufficient, you weren’t called overhead to pick them up when they got in trouble, and you had a wonderful day!
      +1 to your thoughts on fear. It’s an ongoing choice as there are always new issues to address.

  4. We missed the water park this year (we left it too late due to our year round school schedule), but those are great lessons. Ours is “Explore Plan B.” Since we didn’t go to the water park, we used a Groupon to spend a couple of nights in Myrtle Beach for just a little bit more than we would have spent.

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  5. Great list. One that I would add is 8. Look for reasons to laugh. My 11 month old son is constantly entertained by the silliest things that make him laugh. The joy of his belly laughing is infectious.

    BTW…I can’t wait until my son is old enough to go on the water park. I haven’t been back since I was a kid.

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