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Balancing summertime with kids

by Kim Jacobs

Posted on June 25, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 16 at 8:59 AM

1. Create and Post a Summer Schedule:   This calendar should consist of the children’s activities and family vacations for the summer.  It should be on a large calendar for the entire family to see what the plan is for the summer. This will help things stay more organized for you as the parent and will keep the children informed about their upcoming events throughout the summer.

#2.  Get a grade appropriate summer workbook.  You can purchase a summer workbook that will allow your children to continue to learn grade appropriate material.  This will help them get prepared for the upcoming school year.  I use the Summer Bridges Workbooks that are at all major bookstores. At the end of each section there is a reward section.  Children are more eager to accomplish the goal if they know they are working toward a specific reward.

#3. Have a set bedtime:  I do think you can allow your children to stay up a little later, because it is the summer!  However, I don’t think it should be too late, especially if you still have to get up and go to work the next day as the parent.  Plus, children need their proper rest regardless of whether it is the summer or not.  It is not healthy for children to lie around in the bed all hours of the day.  If they get the proper rest, then they will be able to get up and wash and dress themselves and function throughout the day.

#4. Have a set amount of time for TV and ELECTRONICS:  Children will automatically want to catch up on all of the shows they have missed throughout the school year or play their video games excessively.  It is up to you as the parent to put a time limit on how much of this you will allow.  Once they have reached their time limit, encourage them to do other activities like:  Read a book, or play outside or play a board game, or draw a picture.

# 5. Encourage your children to start a summer business:  It can be a lemonade stand or some other type of business that they are interested in starting.  

# 6. Allow your children to travel with you (summer tour with mommy and daddy): During the summer months, we take our children with us to some of the fun places that we have to go for our jobs.  This gives them a chance to explore different parts of the country and it gives us an opportunity to not be apart from one another.  My children love visiting all of the fun places with mommy and daddy.  If you don’t travel away during the summer take them to some of your local engagements with your job.  This also gives them a chance to see what mommy and daddy does.

#7. Find a summer / sports camp that will interest them. There are all types of camps that are offered during the summer.  Find the one that will allow your children to flourish.  There are sports camps, cooking camps, arts & crafts camps, reading camps, and so many more. 

#8.  Let your children cook: Cooking may be a chore to us as adults, but kids often see cooking as so much fun! Of course, you will have to set some ground rules and give very specific instructions.  Allow your children to explore in the kitchen with adult supervision.  They will LOVE IT!

#9. Take frequent trips to the Library. Part of the summer schedule can include regular trips to the library to keep your child’s mind active. The library has computers for the children to do kid friendly educational games.

#10. Have your teenager do volunteer work or get a job.  It is really a good idea to keep your teenager’s mind occupied during the summer so that they don’t have a bunch of idol time on their hands.  You can have your teenager volunteer at a local hospital, nursing home, Salvation Army, animal shelter, or any other volunteer opportunity.  If they are old enough to work a real job, then they should be working somewhere.  You can help them by identifying some good places for them to put in an application.  Also, remind them to dress professionally when they approach an employer.

#11. Individual Back Packs. Whenever you take road trips, make sure each person has their own back pack that rolls and have it filled with activities that they enjoy most.  This is very important if you wish to keep your sanity. By applying some of these simple tips, your summer with your children should be balanced and fun.