Written by: Melissa Pinn, LMFT
Summer time can be a time to recharge and reset, to explore new places, make new friends, lie in the warm sun, and splash in the water. Does this sound like your summer? Or maybe your summer sounds more like constant complaining about having to go to a camp that they don't like? Or maybe they are glued to their electronics? Or maybe they won't stop whining about being bored?
Here are some tips on how to make this the best summer ever. Remember that summer-time like childhood comes and goes make the most of the time you have with your child this summer.
1. STRUCTURE, STRUCTURE, STRUCTURE
Kids need need time to chill and relax from the busy-ness of school, homework, and activities. But they also need some structure to their days and weeks. Work together with them to find a schedule that works for everyone. Review the schedule for the day the night before or first thing in the morning. Maybe it's an hour of reading in the morning, followed by running errands, and a few responsibilities around the house. After lunch it's time for beach fun or a swim in a pool or playing in sprinklers.
2. ENJOY LIFE AND YOUR CHILD THIS SUMMER
Set aside time to connect and have fun with your child each day. This doesn't mean you need to plan some expensive, big adventure everyday. This can look like throwing water balloons outside or taking a board game in the backyard to play in the shade. Commit to having a care-free attitude this summer. If you're stressed your child will be too. Your child won't remember what activities they did each summer but they will remember how you made them feel during the summer. Why not, give them the gift of de-stressing during the summer.
3. LIMIT TECH TIME
The screen has a way of sucking us in, especially if it's hot outside or if we are bored. If you are going to allow tech time each day create a routine and schedule around tech time that is mutually agreed upon. Maybe the day begins with 30 mins of tech time and ends with another 30 mins of tech time. Or maybe the tech time is during the middle of the day when you need to finish up work and responsibilities around the house. Define what tech time means, is it watching a t.v show, is it playing video games, is it creating some animation on the computer or learning coding? Once everyone is on the same page about what tech time means in your family it is easier to create rules around it. Kids creativity flourishes and their relationship with nature and the people around them becomes stronger when there are limits to how much tech is consumed during the summer.
4. ALLOW FOR BOREDOM
When the whining begins to ensue that they are bored because they have reached their limit of tech time for the day- REMEMBER that "it's okay for your child to be bored." Repeat that mantra 10 times to yourself. Don't feel pressured to solve the problem of your child's boredom for them. Allowing your children to have the experience being bored helps them manage how to use their unstructured time. Of course, you can help your child by creating a boredom buster list of ideas that they can do when they are feeling bored.
5. PLAN SOME AMAZING FAMILY MEMORIES
Have each family member create their summer bucket list with a few things they would really like to do this summer. You can create parameters for this such as nothing over $50 or nothing that requires airplane travel.
Some ideas's are:
Pitch a tent in the back yard and camp for the night
A hike to a waterfall followed by a stop at your child's favorite ice cream store
Tubing or Kayaking
A sunset beach picnic with followed by a smore's bonfire
Create a science experiment day
Have a popsicle creation competition
Encourage your family to come up with their ideal summer day and make a few of them happen. Be sure take lots of pictures, thank the family member who created the idea, and create a photo album of your fantastic summer!