I remember as a child thinking it took for-evvvvvvvv-eeeeeee-rrrrr for school to be out and for the Summer vacation to begin. Now as an adult, it gets here too quickly. Summer is a time for family vacations, special get-aways and down-time for the kiddos. Don’t let this be a time that rules and structure go out the window. It’s important to remember that even children need structure. Some simple tips that will keep your children from possibly going bananas!
1). Give them chores to do during the day if they are of the age that they stay at home alone.
2). Give them some guidelines/boundaries for their bedtime routine. Children and teens alike still need adequate rest and sleep. Avoid the pattern of staying up half the night and sleeping half the day away. This is a recipe for grumpiness and unhappy parents.
3). PLAN some activities ahead of time if possible. Children are much like adults, in that we need fun things to look forward to. But remember, if you say it, do it! Your word is your bond with them.
4). Find a way to involve them in charity work. Volunteerism is one of the most rewarding activities for a child and the Summer vacation is a great way to introduce them to this. There are a lot of ways for children of all ages to give back to their community. Ask area churches for some ideas or simply google for non-profits in your area. Non-profits are typically always looking for volunteers to serve in some capacity.
5). Get your kids involved in the planning process for Summer activities. If they have a part in the decision making, then they are more likely to enjoy the activities.
6). Photograph, photograph, photograph! You are making memories with your child. Such special times that definitely should be captured. Allow your older children to create on-line photo books. Most are savvy tech and can create masterpieces beyond what some adults can do.
7). Find other ways for them to be creative. Take them on a shopping trip to your local Michaels or Hobby Lobby and explore possibilities for engaging in creative projects. It will keep them busy for hours.
I hope these tips will allow you and your family to enjoy the loooooonnnnggggg awaited Summer break. Have a happy Summer and make some incredible memories!
Janice Feuerhelm, LPC
Counseling and Wellness Center