Teachers may revel, and celebrate a change in their summer routine, and parents may have the opposite reaction.
For many of us, myself included losing the structure of school involves coming up with other activities that will be agreeable to your child and help you maintain your sanity.
As a child, I looked forward to the summer, but now as a parent, I have a bit of stress and feeling overwhelmed with the idea of coming up with ways to keep my children amused and away from screens. There are still ways that you can appreciate the summer and not feel frazzled.
You can sustain some level of order during the summer by following these 10 guidelines.
10 Tips for Parenting in the Summer Months
1. Involve Children in Discussions About Rules and Routines
Give specific instructions. Keep it short and straightforward.
Write down routines as sequences of tasks (two to five items only), and post where easily visible (refrigerator, bathroom mirror). Review lists regularly.
- Have breakfast
- Start morning routine
If you need help with how to start a conversation with your child, Sarah J. Robbins wrote about 5 ways to start a conversation.
2. Keep Activites in Small Increments
Keeping activities in small increments allows each activity to be managed independently:
- Summer Reading: 30 minutes
- Morning Outside Time: 45 minutes
- Playdate/Hangout with Friends: 60 minutes
- Responsibility Jar (See Step 4): 30 minutes
- AM Screen Time: 60 minutes
- Quiet Time: 30 minutes
- Activity Sticks (See Step 3): 45 minutes
- Afternoon Screen Time: 60 minutes
- Evening Routine Begins
3. Create Activity Sticks
A jar full of fun and engaging activities that children can do. These activities are written on a popsicle stick. Once that activity has been pulled it cannot be put back into the jar until the following day to prevent duplicates.
- Screen Time
- Riding Bike
- Library Outing
- Play Outside
- Water Fight
- Nerf War
- Museum Day Trip
4. Create Responsibility Jar
A jar filled with to-do list for the day. This will typically include chores and other items to be done around the house.
- Make the bed
- Take out the trash
- Walk the dog
- Sweep the floors
- Feed the fish
- Open the blinds
- Pick up toys
- Put shoes away
5. Be Consistent
Children thrive on consistency. Consistency provides stability and it is a good foundation for a structured home. Lack of consistency can make a child feel less secure.
“Consistency, in terms of structure and routine, provides the limits and boundaries for children to help them to organize and integrate information into their brain and gain an understanding of how the world works.” (Jill Ceder, LMSW, JD)
6. Assign Tasks That Your Child Is Capable of Doing Independently
The goal is to teach your child to do things independently and how to be successful at it.
7. Time Management
Be realistic about time for both you and your child. Set aside enough time for chores, meal planning, activities, outings. Playing outside can easily turn into a 1 hour activity and more than likely will not get accomplished in 20 minutes.
8. Meal Planning
Include children with meal planning and preparation. Create a weekly meal schedule and try something different every day to get children use to eating food they generally would not.
The goal is introduction not necessarily to make a child’s palate more sophisticated.
- Monday: Meatballs
- Tuesday: Tacos
- Wednesday: Wild Rice
- Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken
- Friday: Fettuccini
- Saturday: Stir Fry
- Sunday: Fun Day (Free Pick)
9. Positive Reinforcement
For younger children praise for the try and effort. For older kids acknowledge that you see the attempt. Reward the effort and not just results.
10. Expect Gradual Improvement
Be patient and know that it takes time to change habits and established a good and functioning family routine. The summer does not have to be dreadful it can be quite enjoyable with proper planning.