Summer is here! Kids are out of school, and the dreaded feeling of keeping children occupied for two and a half months looms. While summer can be crazy and exhausting, it can also provide some of the best memories of childhood for you and your children.
Children are used to scheduled days. They wake up at the same time, go to school at the same time, return home at the same time. Summer, while understandably more relaxed, should be no different. Kids like structure and routines help keep you sane. Try to establish a summer schedule that can be posted in the house. Try to stick to the time table as closely as possible.
Kids also thrive on opportunities to try new things. Summer can be a chance to take a film making class, enroll in a special camp, join a summer league, etc. We live in a fantastic area where kids have a wide array of activities at their fingertips. If necessary, budget for one special summer choice per child and let them choose their favorite.
When kids are bored, kids get in trouble. If you work during the summer, make sure your kids have plenty of things to do that are safe, fun, and under the influence of healthy and positive people. Make sure your camp, daycare, babysitter, neighbor, etc. provides you with examples of what a given day might look like for your children.
Many churches and schools sponsor great programs during the summer months. St. Petersburg College runs College for Kids, a program that takes kids through an educational program similar to the college experience at an age-appropriate level. Most churches also offer Vacation Bible School different weeks running all summer long.
Make time to take a family vacation during the summer, even if it is just for a long weekend. When children are taken out of their standard environment, it often sparks emotional connections to people and places that would not otherwise been made.
Finally, summer can be a great time to help children learn to complete chores and tasks that are difficult to manage during the school year with activities and homework. When kids are off for the summer and have more free time, they can take weekly and daily tasks to assist around the house. Here is an example of a Summer Chore Chart.
Summer can be difficult to manage, but can also be very rewarding. Remember, the amount of effort you put in to making it special is proportionate to the level of sanity you will maintain.