1. Self-time-Make sure you carve out time for yourself to de-stress and enjoy your summer. To have the mental, physical and spiritual stamina to have a great summer, you must be healthy yourself, mind, body and spirit. Maybe take a yoga class to help reduce stress or try a new hobby like horseback riding, bowling or tennis.
2. Prioritize Your Kids-Make your kids a priority. Make sure you spend quality time with your kids doing something that they want to do like play a board game, or go outside with them and play Frisbee or basketball.
3. Schedule Activities-Create a schedule of activities. This will give your kids something to look forward to throughout the summer. Anticipating a trip to the zoo or to an amusement park can create an atmosphere of excitement.
4. Have Structure-Structure is important. Maybe change their bedtime from 9 pm to 10 pm or allow an additional hour of playtime. But, whatever you change, be consistent with implementing the change. Remember, it will be more difficult to get your kids back on a schedule if they have a summer with no structure.
5. Limit Screen Time-Screen time (phones, TV, computers) should be limited for everyone in the household. This will be a great time to work on a family project together or finish some lingering household projects.
6. Create Family Fun Time-Create daily opportunities to have family fun time. Watch a movie together, have a picnic, or go fishing together. Believe it or not, this will help strengthen family bonds.
7. Prioritize Reading and Math-Statistics show that children can have as much as a 30% decrease in reading and math when they return to school after summer break. Encourage reading by having reading time. Print worksheets from the internet or find a Math app online. The summer is not the time for everyone to totally slack-off. The library is a great resource… Use it! Join a book club, or better yet, create a family book club.
8. Assign Age Appropriate Chores-Having responsibilities will help your kids develop time management skills, self-discipline, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-reliance, and responsibility. The summer is a great time to increase household responsibilities.
9. Encourage New Experiences-The summer is a perfect time for your kids to try something new like water polo, field hockey, hiking, or pottery. Encourage your kids to pick one new thing that they would like to try this summer.
10. Plan a Staycation-Without spending a small fortune on hotels and airfare, take some time off of work and enjoy the restaurants and attractions in your community with your kids. I’m sure that there are plenty of great things to do and see near you.
Amber C. Gardner, MA, LPC, NCCMA