Making The Most of Summer!

Summer lives in our imaginations throughout the year because it nourishes our souls. The warmth…..the fun……..the sheer deliciousness. But mostly, the luxury of time, unbounded by school. Time to explore, to make new friends, to lie on your back and watch the clouds billow. The freedom and excitement of a child’s summer can change them forever. You can make this the best summer ever with your kids. It doesn’t take travel or a lot of money. All it takes is your time.

  • Set aside some time every day to have fun with your child. Whether its running through the sprinkler together on a hot afternoon or counting stars on a blanket in the backyard before bedtime, do at least one thing a day to connect and have fun. Remember, what always matters is how it FEELS, not how it LOOKS. Your child doesn’t need a Pinterest activity, just a loving connection with you.
  • Find the “sweet spot” for structure. Research shows that kids get stressed during the school year from academics, homework, the social scene and all of the activities. They really need time to chill and relax. However, they also need structure, meaning their day and their week need to have shape so they know what to expect.
  • Commit to destressing and just enjoying your life this summer. Kids pick up our attitudes. If you are stressed, they’ll be stressed and they will fight with each other and drive you crazy. Whether you are at home or work, find a way to dial down stress. Your positive attitude will create a relaxed, happy mood in your home.
  • Help your kids develop a healthy relationship with time. That includes the important life skills of them being comfortable with their own company, without technology. To help kids learn to reclaim their time, set up a “Boredom Buster” jar. Put some fun activity ideas in a jar.
  • Encourage your child to try something new this summer. There is no time like the summer to dabble, experiment and play with creativity. Maybe she wants to try painting, self-defense classes or horseback riding. Maybe he wants to try writing a short story or throwing a Frisbee well. New activities encourage brain development and build your child’s focus, frustration management and impulse control.
  • Strictly limit technology to certain times of the day. When kids are bored and its hot outside, screen time has a way of swallowing up all their time. It may be a good babysitter, but we all know its not what kids need. The more you limit screen time, the better kids get at finding creative things to do with their time…..and the less they bug you about watching TV or playing electronics.
  • Institute daily reading time and regular library visits. Books open the imagination, make time disappear and give kids a wholesome alternative to screens. Reading is also correlated with a high level of school achievement. Reading to your child develops a love of stories and books, which starts them wanting to read on their own.
  • Be aware that you will need some transition time. If your child is starting a summer program or camp with new counselors and kids, you can expect some anxiety. Take time to play with your child in advance, because those belly laughs reduce anxiety and will help them feel less nervous that first day or so. If your child is just at home enjoying down time, remember that sometimes when kids are released from structure, all the stressed feelings they’ve been carrying during the school year bubble up and they suddenly get bit high strung. So be aware that you might have a few grumpy days. Plan on a few meltdowns and make sure to build as much rough housing and laughter as possible into your days.
  • Plan some fantastic family memories, even if you don’t have money or time to head off on vacation. Don’t wait. They key is to get out a calendar and schedule the things you really want to do. This could be literally of interest (camping, bike riding, going to the beach, attending a festival, making homemade icecream……..anything).
  • The last week of summer, print out all your summer photos and make a summer album. Have a little family celebration on Labor Day Weekend where you look at the album together and talk about everyone’s favorite parts of the summer and create some precious family heirlooms!


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