Summer vacation can be a blessing and a curse for many parents. Although there’s plenty of time to spend time with your children, you may also get tired of hearing your kids say, “I’m bored”. Although you may feel like you have a lot of time to plan activities for your child during his or her summer break, three months flies by much quicker than you think. Here are some tips to help your child have a fun, meaningful, and memorable summer:
Create a Routine
During the school year, your children have a daily routine. Why not stick to one in the summertime? Does that mean that your kids should go to bed at the same time every night? Not necessarily, but you should make sure that your children get the recommended amount of sleep each night (school aged children between the ages of 6 to 13 years old need 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night). Not only is a good night’s sleep important for their mood and health, but sticking to a sleep schedule will make your transition to the school year much easier.
Other ways to stick to a routine is by creating a “chore chart” or something that makes your child an active participant in the household. Summer vacation doesn’t need to mean that your child takes a break from his or her responsibilities from caring for the family pet to cleaning his or her room to helping with dinner preparation or dishes.
Limit Screen Time
Most parents will resort to using “screen time” (tv, video games, computer) as bargaining tool at some point. If the day is chaotic, the kids are getting on your nerves, and you just need some quiet time, you may be tempted to offer screen time to create a little peace and quiet. As a parent, the choice is yours, there’s no right or wrong answer. However, be careful how much screen time you offer to your child. On average, children spend about seven hours a day on entertainment devices (phones, tvs, computers, and video games). Consider limiting screen time to a couple hours a day and encourage your child to do other things such as read, crafts, or spend time outdoors.
Encourage and Create Quality Time
Once you have created schedules and set boundaries, it’s time to encourage and create some quality time with your children. Even if you are unable to take time off from your regular work schedule, you can still have quality time with your kids and help them have a meaningful summer. Here are some ideas:
- Enjoy the outdoors together. Whether you go on a family bike ride, plant a garden, or set up a tent in the backyard, enjoy the summer weather and remember it goes by quickly.
- Encourage your kids to do something they’ve never done. Attending a camp or a class is a great way for your kids to learn new skills and create new friendships.
- Set aside a little time every day to spend time with your kids and celebrate the “kid” in you.
- Don’t forget to have fun and reduce your stress. Although a routine is important, don’t forget to have a little fun and let your kids be kids.