Seems like everywhere I turn these days I am seeing stories about how much parents dread summer. Stories like this one on Today.com are talking about how parents are dreading comments like: “I’m soooooo bored” and “My life’s soooooo lame.” These stories make me sad because I love summer. It makes me sad that mine is not a sentiment felt by all. Admittedly, the change to a summertime pace can take some getting used to – I usually count on at least a week of adjustment time. Here are some tips for making the adjustment time as short and painless as possible:
- It’s not a free for all. We all do best with some structure in our lives and kids are certainly no exception. I’m all for free time and the creativity it breeds, but some structure is essential. For example, maintain a reasonable bedtime and/or insist on “quiet time” for 30-60 minutes after lunch for family members of all ages. Spend 30 minutes in the morning practicing math, reading a book, or writing in a journal with your kids. Take a popsicle break everyday at 4.
- Challenge your comfort zone. Many kids are great at challenging themselves physically. They try out bike ramps, skateboard jumps, and high diving boards. Take a cue from the kids and challenge your limits while you’re out and about with your kids. Let them talk you into going down the big water slide, playing tennis together, or going white water rafting. My bet is these will be some of the best memories of the season.
- Put down the phone/ipad/laptop. You’ve seen them: parents so absorbed in their technology of choice that they ignore their kids. I admit that I have been guilty of doing this myself, so I know that many of us can use the reminder to turn off the technology and tune into our kids. Believe me, your kids will notice and appreciate your extra minutes of time and attention.
Have a great summer!