School’s out for the summer! And while kids may have been anxiously counting down the days till their break, it’s not uncommon for parents to feel slightly overwhelmed with the school year’s end. Arguments among siblings, mischief, daycare issues, scheduling conflicts, and even boredom may be looming for many families.
It’s a struggle to transition children into the summer months because the structure of the school day is gone. When the predictable schedules go by the wayside, kids may also lose their sense of stability and composure. Bedtimes tend to shift and daytime activities change dramatically, sometimes leaving kids (and adults) feeling anxious or melancholy. These changes take a toll and may eventually manifest into those notorious summertime issues of a young child’s temper tantrum or an adolescent’s withdrawal.
So how do parents go about creating a summer structure but still leave time for kids to be kids? It’s a balancing act, it can be done! Whether yours’ is a family that’s suffering from cabin fever or a one that’s constantly running to and from endless commitments, make time for some quick routines that your kids can count on.
- Keep as many things constant as possible from the school year (i.e. Dinner’s always at 6)
- Give plenty of verbal reminders of upcoming events to build excitement
- Display visual cues such as calendars or flyers in a special place at your child’s eye level to help with planning while reducing anxiety
- Create a weekly schedule with themed days (i.e. Library Monday, Park Tuesday, etc.)
- Make a summer bucket list of simple daily activities Here’s one with fun ideas to pull from: This Awesome Site
If you don’t get to each one, oh well; it’s a good lesson in being flexible!
- Designate downtime. Turn the lights down and the electronics off at the same time each day so that kids have time to do quiet independent activities like reading, drawing, or just organizing their thoughts.
- Manage your own stress. Ask for help or a break when you need it.