Published June 1, 2019
As summer break opens its arms wide, the longing for warm days, no alarm clock and no homework reaches its crescendo. For the kids, that is. Parents often have a slightly different perspective. With summer fun also comes a whole lot of summer logistics and transitions. You can make the most of the summer months by taking a few of the tips and tricks from the school year and applying them to the summer months while still leaving lots of time and energy for fun and sun.
Establish Summer Boundaries
The urge to run far and wide with friends, ditch the bedtimes or spend too much time on the screen can hit kids as soon as the echo of the final bell fades. Geographical boundaries will help keep kids close and safe, whether that means to the end of the sidewalk or several miles away (depending on the age of the child). Sticking with a fairly normal bedtime helps little ones rest up from their busy days and might (we did say *might*) encourage teens to not sleep till noon. Too much time on the screen, whether it be the cell phone, computer, video games or tv, can make for grouchy attitudes and a poor use of time. You can help them manage screen time by establishing electronics-free times of the day or even days of the week. You might be surprised at how nicely they integrate into family life without the electronics in hand.
Create a Schedule
Nobody wants a strict schedule during the summer, but some weekly or daily routines will go a long way towards keeping everyone happy. This can be as simple as planning a weekly trip to the library to get some good summer reads or setting up simple, daily summer chores. The main point is to give kids a touch of structure. A family calendar with activities will help keep everyone on track.
Plan for Easy Summer Lunches
One of the big challenges in the summer is keeping the fridge and pantry stocked. Choosing one day a week to prep ingredients for easy lunches will eliminate the daily battle over what’s for lunch and is a good way to let the kids get involved. Making extras for dinner that can be easily heated up the next day can be helpful as well. Encourage good summer eating habits such as plenty of fruits and veggies by keeping the healthy options front and center and resisting the urge to buy a lot of junk food favorites.
Summer may mean a break from the classroom, but it will be starting up soon enough. To ease the hurdle back into the classroom in the fall, make sure your kids have dedicated reading times and a chance to do some writing. You can sneak in a little math during car trips, while making dinner and during shopping excursions. Don’t worry about formal lessons unless your child needs some special help–instead, provide ample opportunities to casually keep learning.
As every parent knows, the hot days of summer disappear in a blink, and soon everyone will be moaning about getting up early and having to be back to school. Make the most of this precious time and enjoy the summer!