Summer vacation is underway.
For many families, summer is a time to kick back, visit the swimming pool, take a trip to the beach, go see Grandma, or enjoy a week of camping.
Summer is that relaxed time of year when the freedom of empty schedules can be simply wonderful – or it can be the most difficult season of the year if your child or you fall apart due to the lack of structure.
While all children and families are different, here are some ideas to help make this summer vacation a great one.
Maybe one or more might add fun to the months ahead.
Here are The Best Summer Vacation Tips!
Have a Schedule: Regardless of if you work and the ages of your kids, having a routine is helpful.
Getting up and going to bed at about the same times during the work week keeps things on track. Sleeping in and staying up late may be normal for college kids, but for your elementary schoolers it’s an invitation to chaos.
A little later bedtime on Friday and Saturday night is fine with a little later rising time the next morning, but a good night’s sleep is a key to better behavior and happier kids.
Limit Screen Time: Televisions, computers, iPads, and cell phones are not babysitters.
It can be tempting to let the kids gorge on them while you enjoy a little P&Q. But don’t abdicate your precious time as a parent to electronics. Who would you rather have directing your child’s thoughts – you or a television producer, or a game maker, or a social network?
Put a limit on screen time or eliminate it all together if possible.
Read: Go counter-cultural and dive into ink on parchment with your kids.
A weekly trip to the library helps with routine, it helps limit screen time, and it helps develop the most important skill for your kids’ success in school – reading.
Build a treasure of stories with your kids, a common thread that you hold as a family by reading a book aloud each evening after supper. Entertain your children with accents and drama. (Just try to read Where the Red Fern Grows without bawling your eyes out during the last pages.)
What memories you’ll build with your children. And this routine doesn’t have to end with summer.
Take a Family Trip: Whether it’s to Grandma’s or the Everglades, plan a trip and invite the kids to participate.
What might they want to see or what side trips along the way would be good for them? Planning a trip and anticipating it are as enriching and positive as the trip itself. Planning can also fit in with trips to the library or the family book you’re reading.
While your children are young, family trips should be for their benefit, not trips to a gold resort with child care provided. use summer vacation time to bond with your kids!
Organized Sports: Baseball and soccer are two of the most organized summer sports for children. These can be great physical and social activities for the kids and some nice social time for the parents as well.
If your children want to participate, that’s wonderful. But don’t go whole hog on adult organized activities.
Having adults plan children’s time with one activity after another doesn’t allow for kids to have free time to make up their own games, let their minds wander, or be responsible for finding their own joys.
Art and Drama: Buy art materials for your kids – messy things like paint and clay. They should be responsible to keep things clean but prevent disaster by letting your unfinished basement or garage be their studio.
During summer vacation,encourage your kids to create art and enjoy the activity with them. If your kids have buddies in the neighborhood, pick up books of play scripts from the library and have the kids put on a show with the garage as the stage and lawn chairs in the driveway for the audience.
Summer is a time to kick back and a time to explore the world as a family.
Parents can create opportunities for their children to create wonderful and exciting memories, but it does take planning, time, and effort to shape summers that last forever.
Mark and John are both dads with six grown children between them.
In their day jobs they are the Founder/CEO and Director of Special Projects respectively for ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy and Education which serves some 20,000 at-risk students and students with special needs in 26 states.
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