What I typically tell parents is that they should find a mix of freedom and scheduling that works for their family. Some families make weekdays a bit more planned (for example breakfast, morning activity, free time, lunch, afternoon activity, practice instruments, dinner, play, bedtime), while weekends allow for spontaneous, unplanned and creative opportunities for classic summer fun and memories. Other families find that they prefer each day to have some kind of schedule so that everyone remains organized.
If your child has summer camp, summer school or summer studying or reading to do, take that into account and make sure that the rest of her time isn’t too scheduled. Overscheduling could affect not only the quality of her summer, but also your relationship and her behavior. Let’s face it, when summer feels more like a chore than fun, nobody’s a happy camper.
Should you decide to insert some structure into your child’s day, make sure that more demanding activities are followed by ones that are more fun or rewarding. This creates balance and a way to maintain motivation through less appealing activities.
Parents often ask me what sort of activities they can do with their kids to help structure their days. Some of my favorite ideas include:
You get to complete your shopping list and keep your kiddos busy; that’s a win-win!
For example a stream, a bird, a squirrel. They can earn points for everything they check off the list.
Bottom line: Think about what is right for your family. Some kids do better with more structure, but there’s no right answer. Brainstorm some fun ideas that are simple for you while still being exciting for your little ones and make this your best summer yet.
For more parenting advice please go to childmind.org.
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