It’s that time of year again. The weather is warmer, the days are longer and school is almost out for the kids. The end of the school year can create mixed emotions in a parent. As parents, we can breathe a sigh of relief: no more homework, school projects and perhaps a more relaxed pace for everyone. Yet on the other hand: How will you entertain your kids all day?
The key to a successful summer is to have a plan. Here are some tips for a supper summer:
Involve your children in summer planning: vacations, activities and schedule.
Give your child a calendar to mark off special activities, events and vacation. Then they can check it off each day counting down to the special day.
Summer Play Dates: Exchange contact information and availability with the parent’s of your child’s friends. Keeping friend connections during the summer will help the transition back to school in the fall.
Mother’s Helper: Arrange for a local high school or middle school student to provide an occasional extra pair of hands. This can make your day trips go a lot smoother, safer and more enjoyable.
Maintain a routine as much as possible. Children crave routines, something that summer months tend to be without, or at least are greatly loosened. Create a routine with your child around wake-up time, activities, meal times, reading time, quiet time and bed time.
Take Care of Yourself: Sit down with your planner or calendar and schedule time for yourself each week. If parents do not take care of themselves they cannot take care of their families. Practicing self-care is just as important as taking care of the family. Remember the announcement on airplanes regarding the use of oxygen masks: “If you are traveling with a child, please attend to yourself first, then the child.”
Family Meetings: Each week schedule a family meeting with all members of your family. Family meetings provide a great opportunity for the family to plan future activities, update everyone in the family on any news, delegate responsibilities and deal with any family concerns.
Create a summer memory book. This summer engage your children in creating a simple memory book of the things they did over the summer. The book can include: pictures, brochures, ticket stubs, drawings, etc. This will help keep the special memories alive and make it easier for them to answer the question asked by all teachers the first week of school: What did you do this summer?
It may take a little while to make the transition, but with a little planning, patience and help you can create some great summer memories.