Summer has been in effect now for six full days and parents are already stressed out! I get it. Teaching for over thirty years has made me appreciate the short term break of summer. It has also made me empathetic to parents during the summer. Planning for kids is a full time job. So if you already have a full time job (other than managing the kids) be prepared to work a double shift. There are some things you can do to make the summer a great enjoyable time for everyone!
Plan ahead. It’s always a good idea to start planning before the kids actually get out for summer break (or any break for that matter). Keep abreast of the latest movies that are suitable for children. If you work outside the home you may need to figure out childcare. Planning ahead is crucial to addressing the challenges of juggling work schedules and caregiver availability.
Listen and observe. If you aren’t already, become aware of your
kids’ interests. As parents we have the opportunity to offer and structure activities for our kids…activities we think they will enjoy. even so, you want to be sure to listen when they talk about the activities they enjoy and places they like to go. Talk with parents of your child’s friends and find out what they are doing for the summer. Work with the parents to plan a few playdates with these friends. Also, be sure to check local radio stations and newspapers for announcements of activities that will be offered during the summer months.
Make safety a priority.Summer is a great time for kids to enjoy both indoor and outdoor activities. Taking the time to learn ways to keep your kids safe and healthy while they enjoy water activities is much worth the effort and could mean the difference between summer fun and summer illness. For information on water safety click the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/rwi.html. Take a break from the sun when necessary. Don’t overdo outdoor activities when the temperatures begin to climb. Dress in light colored, lightweight clothing and use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15. Remember to stay hydrated; drink plenty of water and skip the sugary drinks. NEVER, EVER under any circumstances leave kids in the water unattended. And NEVER, EVER leave kids in the water unsupervised.
Do your research. If you are looking for a summer camp, first decide which type of camp is right for you and your family.
Would your kids fare better at a day camp or is an overnight camp more suitable? Which camp is best? Who are the counselors? What activities will they provide?Are any of your child’s friends attending camp?
Keep them learning. Make learning an everyday aspect of home life. Reading recipes, measuring ingredients, observing and describing backyard findings are all ways to include reading, science, and math skills.
Make reading a priority. If you don’t already have one, take the time to get a library card for you and the kids. Understandably books can be bought and read online but there is something to be said for an outing to the public library and turning actual pages in a physical book.(Some children actually need that kinesthetic stimulation.)
Allow down time. Don’t look to fill every waking moment with super adventurous activities. Psychologists and child development experts suggest that over-scheduling kids may actually prevent them from becoming well-rounded. Work with your child to find that balance between being engaged with activities and being engaged with you. To read more about balancing activities and child-parent time click the links.