From sex therapist Ian Kerner: I don’t know if other parents feel this way, but during summer it’s “a long day's journey into night” -- especially when the kids are up at crack of dawn and it doesn’t start to get dark until 9 p.m. Even with my sons at day camp, they are still home often and constantly moaning, “I’m bored.” Jeez, what am I, the entertainment director? My relationship with my wife is the part of my life that bears the brunt of all this. Longer days mean shorter nights; that translates to less downtime, less intimacy and darn it, less sex! Here are some ideas I came up with to “childproof” the summer and keep some romance sizzling: Make sure the kids are playing hard. Work those little buggers: swimming, soccer, baseball, pile it on. The harder they play the more easily they will go to sleep, which will give you more time for intimacy. Get in the habit of putting them to bed earlier, not later, and make sure that you have blinds or curtains that can block the light. Many parents make the mistake of waiting until it's dark to put the kids to bed during the summer. This practice leaves you exhausted with little time for your partner, and also deprives your kids of some much-needed rest. Combine family outings with date night. During the summer, date night tends to vanish, because there's always a different family activity: extended weekends, baseball games, dinners out with ice cream afterward. I think it’s money well spent to bring a baby sitter with you on these outings, and make a little relationship pit stop for a glass of wine or a quick bite away from the kids, or even a chance to talk at dinner without having to worry about the kids. I’m not saying to scrap date night, which is more important than ever during summer, but with a busy family schedule, it doesn’t hurt to have some extra support when you’re out with the kids. Cut yourself some slack. It's summer! You can let some rules slide. Give kids extra TV and computer time or skip a bath and let them be a little dirty. There are so many more summer hours in the day when the kids are home. Just let them have some downtime, so you can reconnect with your partner and de-stress. Work around the summer schedule. You may have new opportunities for intimacy. Perhaps your spouse is getting out of work early on Fridays -- instead of jumping in the car for a long weekend, rendezvous with your spouse for a long lunch. Heck, check into a hotel for the afternoon! Shake it up, it’s summer. Relive the summers of your own youth. Remember all those fun, naughty games like Truth or Dare and strip poker? Remember when you could kiss and pet, but couldn't go past second base? Take some time to remember and relive. Plan a stay-cation. I just got back from our first real family vacation to Europe, and let me tell you: When you have kids, vacation is a different experience. But that doesn't mean you can't get the kids to sleep and plan a stay-cation. It could be as simple as simple as margaritas and some Jimmy Buffett. Remember that summer is a time when parents are going to feel extra stress and there's a lot of extra family time. But happy kids have happy parents, and the most important thing you can do for your family is to stay connected as a family. It's so easy to get caught up making sure the kids are having fun -- make sure you're having some, too. Any other ideas for keeping romance alive when the kids are NOT away? Ian Kerner is a sex therapist, relationship counselor and New York Times best-selling author of numerous books, including "She Comes First" and "Love in the Time of Colic." He was born and raised in New York City, where he lives with his wife and two sons. For more of his tips, visit www.goodinbed.com.