Set a Daily Schedule
Children need to have some form of structure to maintain the feeling of stability. They have had to endure around 180 days of the same routine, and while the transition from school to summer seems exciting, boredom is bound to kick in when nothing is planned.
Serve breakfast, lunch and snacks at the same time every day. Decide whether to have physical play before or after lunch. When creating a summer schedule include trips to the park and library. Children will feel excited anticipating that they will be visiting the park the following day or going on a trip to the zoo next week.
Kids tend to be more successful with a visual schedule; if possible keep a calendar of upcoming events and a list of your daily routine where the children can view it.
Create a Bucket List
Get your children involved in what activities they want to explore over the summer. Let every member of the family contribute at least one activity, so they feel included in the family decision of where and what they will be doing.
Things to include on the bucket list could be trips to the zoo, festival, hiking, rollerblading, fishing, etc. Search in local magazines and online event forums for upcoming events in your area.
Explore the Outdoors
Children need daily physical activities to burn off their built-up energy and to stay healthy. While in school they receive daily scheduled outdoor play along with gym activities throughout the week. Take at least one hour every day to get your children outside to run, climb, and jump. Spend your lunchtime picnicking at the playground or hiking and exploring the wonders of nature at your local state park. Visit a basketball court or soccer field and have fun kicking or throwing a ball.
One of the biggest fears parents face over the summer is the thought that their child may fall behind for the coming school year. Be proactive with your children by keeping them reading over the summer. Sign them up for a reading challenge. Many libraries and businesses provide incentives for children to continue their reading over the summer which are great ways to keep your child motivated without forcing them to do school work.
Take it a step further by providing your child with a workbook to practice during those times when nothing is planned or for car rides in between activities.
Mix it up
Have fun with your children! Enjoy movie nights or camping out in the living room with s’mores. Take an unexpected trip for ice cream. Buy some balloons and surprise them with a water balloon toss. Spend the afternoon playing board games or being creative with play dough. Children want to have fun, and sometimes the simplest activity can be the most rewarding when doing them together as a family.
Summer is a time of fun, excitement, and relaxation. Every year children are filled with a sense of relief as they are sent off to their summer vacation. Remember that this is a time for your child to recharge before having to return to their predictable 180 days of challenging school work. Use these five tips to give you and your child a rememberable and stress-free experience.