Charlene Sanuade, LCSW
How to Enjoy Summer Break with your Kids
The countdown to summer break has officially begun! The kids are running out of steam and longing for days of sleeping in, fun summer activities with their friends and staying up later. There are many parents who are looking forward to additional time with the kids, while some of us may be panicking at the thought of having our kids home, All Day.
I can hear the thoughts now: "How do I keep these kids entertained all summer?!" "Where did all this laundry come from?!" Why are they asking for another snack?!" Whether you're excited or apprehensive, or even both, there are ways to make this summer enjoyable both for you and the kids.
Here are 5 quick tips to help you and your children enjoy the upcoming summer break.
1. Plan Ahead
Don't wait until the last month of school to start thinking about the fun activities, trips and projects you would like to participate in during the summer break. The last thing you would want is for summer to start and have your kids waking you up at 5 am, excitedly asking: "What are we doing today?!?", with no plan in place. Take some time, as early as possible, to start scoping out day camps, overnight camps, vacation spots, water parks, whatever it is that you and your family may be interested in, then put the activities on your calendar. Knowing that you have plans in place will help ease any anxiety or worry you may be experiencing. With that being said, be flexible and allow room for change or cancellations when needed.
2. Implement a Lazy Day
Some families call them 'Lazy Days', my family calls them 'Pajama Days'- one day a week where we get to stay in pajamas, lounge around the house and accomplish absolutely nothing! It's more than OK to allow ample space in your calendar just to enjoy time with each other, in your own home. It doesn't have to be every week, or it can be several days out of the week, make downtime work for you and your family and set aside plenty of time to enjoy moments of nothingness.
3. Keep Learning!
Depending on each kid's personalities, they may or may not like this tip. While relaxing and unwinding from a busy school year is healthy and necessary, it's also important to maintain some level of development. Whether it's reading time, practicing writing time, a few minutes of working out math problems or simply watching an educational program, let's keep those minds working. Other fun activities to try include the Khan Academy app, or providing each child a journal to help document trips and activities.
4. Limit Social Media
A famous quote from Theodore Roosevelt, "Comparison is the Thief of Joy", accurately describes what can happen when we spend too much time on social media. Watching other people presenting their best life, whether it's our friends, neighbors, favorite celebrities, people we don't even like, etc. can cause us to judge ourselves negatively. It doesn't matter how much you spend on your kids this summer, remember the focus is quality time and growing as a family. If looking at other people's vacations or big purchases causes you to feel jealous or envious in any way, feel free to unplug and switch your focus to what you do have.
5. Parents, Carve Out Time for Yourselves
Take these next few weeks and congratulate yourselves on your own achievements. Think about all the homework assignments you helped with or dropped off when forgotten, breakfasts and school lunches that were made and half eaten, getting everyone up and out of the door on time (most of the time?), parent/teacher conferences and endless school events that you managed to make it to, all while working and/or maintaining a household. It wasn't easy! But you made it and you deserve to reserve time for some well-earned self-care.
The summer months may seem endless but you'll they will quickly pass by. I hope you and your family find time to make new memories together.