Summer is finally here again, and with it comes longer days, warm weather, and a wealth of activities, festivals, concerts, and events. But a sudden change in routine, while exciting, can often feel a bit jarring to parents and children alike. To make sure your kids don’t feel too detached from routine, we’ve created a survival guide to help keep children relaxed, entertained, inspired, and curious during all those dog days to come.
From the onset, make sure your children know what summer expectations are regarding:
- Reading or academic work
- Screen time limits
- Contribution to household chores
It’s also important to set a regular bedtime, and to make sure that it’s consistent. Don’t veer too far from your school-year sleep schedule, but feel free to be a bit more flexible.
Create a Summer To-Do List
With a to-do list, everyone in the family gets to choose two things they’d like to do together over summer break, such as strawberry picking, a trip to the beach or a sporting event, or a special outing for a child and one parent, like a golf outing with dad. And parents should feel free to add their own items to the list, too!
Prepare a “Nothing to Do” Bin
On the days where your child complains that there’s nothing to do, fill up a “Nothing to Do” storage bin with some of her favorite activities and items. Your “Nothing to Do Bin” can be full of new board games, arts and crafts activities, Lego kits, coloring or comic books, and more. And remember that it’s ok to be bored! It’s good for children to learn how to fill unstructured time, and these bins may be just the ticket.
Plan Lazy Days
While it’s ok to be bored from time to time, it’s also ok to be lazy! Plan days in which everyone – parents and children – laze around in their PJ’s reading, watching movies, baking cookies, cat napping, or playing board games. This is a wonderful way to tone things down before or after a really busy time or a tiring trip or vacation.
Keep Up the School Connections
Make sure children stay connected with their school life by both maintaining play dates with school friends and facilitating fun educational activities. Allow your child to select the books he or she would like to read, either together or independently, watch educational programs together, such as nature shows or documentaries, and take trips to museums, special exhibits, the zoo, or botanical gardens to spark curiosity and increase engagement.
Dr. Angela Seracini, PhD
Dr. Angela Seracini is School Psychologist at The Caedmon School. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with 20 years’ experience working with children and families in private practice and in clinical settings. She holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Ferkauf Graduate Psychology/ Albert Einstein College of Medicine and she also completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center, where she was subsequently an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology. In addition, she was formerly Director of the Disruptive Behavior Disorder Clinic at Morgan-Stanley Children Hospital at New York-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center. Her specialty areas include Parent Guidance and Support and therapeutic work with young children.
Alissa Dufour is the Director of Communications at The Caedmon School. She previously worked staffing high-need NYC public schools through the NYC Teaching Fellows program, and taught in the English Composition and Creative Writing departments at Manhattanville College.