It’s the end of June and school has pretty much ended. Now what?
Parents, if you decide not to take the risk and enroll your kids in summer camp you will have to create a way to keep your kids engaged while still trying to work and maintain some since of sanity.
If you were planning to send your child to camp is it worth it even if the organization takes every precaution possible? Two, if you choose for your child to participate in virtual summer camp that will mean more screen time after two and a half months of online school.
So it looks like the best alternative is to stay home, but how do you balance providing a variety of activities for your child while maintaining a sense of peace for yourself? Here are seven ways you can plan out your child’s activities for the summer and still maintain your sanity.
- Set expectations for the summer.
It’s best that you let them know they will be books over the summer and/or a skills workbook. There is such a thing as summer slide, yet according to a study by scholastic books, 20% of children 6-17 read no books over the summer with that percentage trending higher between ages 15-17 at 32%. Reading will allows your child’s imagination to take flight and allows them to forget about having the summer they are used to.
- Keep their schedules flexible.
Remember your children just ended months of somewhat excruciating online school. You don’t want the summer to be a repeat performance. As a parent you will want to look at your work calendar and try to plan their skills work around those meetings. That way when you have the flexibility to enjoy activities either inside or outside, that will make your time together more pleasant.
- Choose how you plan out their day.
If your children are younger a set schedule will probably be the best way to go, but if your kids are tweens/teens you will want to set their schedule based on their learning style. For example, your child may have more of a “doer” personality so will respond better to a to-do list as opposed to a scheduled day. Keep in mind no matter what you choose it will be imperative to make sure there are consequences if they don’t complete their daily tasks.
- Technology will have to be your friend.
Cell phones, video games and television can provide several hours of daily entertainment for your child, but you have to remind yourself that too much can lead to health issues, anxiety and depression.
- Maintain a sense of discipline in your routine.
As soon as you hear from your child, “I’m bored,” it will be easy to just chuck it and just allow them to do whatever as long as they stay out of your way. A better alternative may be to ask them for ideas to make their day more exciting, no matter how crazy. It might be the most enjoyable thing you do over the summer. But, stay disciplined and don’t allow your child’s emotions to dictate giving up.
- Set Boundaries
Let your kids know there will be times during the day when you’re off-limits and they will have to entertain themselves. That just might be a good time for them to just go outside and play and do some outside activities like tending the garden.
- Be vulnerable.
You may wonder why this is on the list, but we as parents constantly struggle with ensuring that our kids get the best. Kids are smart, so they know these aren’t the best of times. If you act like everything is great it teaches your child to suppress negative emotions and only embrace the positive ones and that’s not realistic. When they see that you are struggling with this new normal just like they are it will strengthen your bond.
Have a nice summer and relax.
— Keith Dent (B’89), relationship management coach. Reach out to Keith directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for help planning the summer with your kids or questions about relationship coaching.
Stay tuned for Keith’s video interview on relationship management!