Summer Survival Strategies
By Julie Powell Sanniota, Ph.D.

As kids count down to summer, parents feel anxious about planning the perfect summer. Follow these tips and enjoy your children. After all the point of summer vacation is to allow time to take a break from the stress of the school year.

  • Make a list of summer ideas and activities. Get your children’s input. Including them makes them feel important and give them a sense of control. Consider your families’ values and plan accordingly to ensure your summer is meaningful. For example, if community service is important, volunteer at a food bank. Do research before summer starts. This allows you to take advantage of free events, promotions and special children’s events at libraries, theatres, local colleges and museums.

  • While the joy of summer is feeling that you can have a more relaxed lifestyle,children benefit from routines and predictability. It makes them feel safe and secure. Establish a calendar so children can see what is planned and learn the routines. Allow for down time. Children need unstructured time so that they can use their imagination and creativity and also learn to entertain themselves. Establish set times to wake up, nap, go to bed, and eat meals.

  • Kids need to contribute to the family by having designated age appropriate household chores and personal responsibilities. Summer is a great time to learn new skills and develop better habits.

  • Control technology by defining your rules and limits before summer starts and communicate the guidelines to your children. If you don’t you will fight daily and they will be angry and uncooperative when you try to control their use.

  • Summer is time for learning but avoid workbooks. Remember that kids learn through play, experiences, their senses and interactions with others. Use this time to explore nature, play outside, cook, play board games, draw, read daily, complete puzzles, or learn a new hobby

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