IMG_1815They’re home from school!

Now what do we do with them?

Summertime may mean your kids are at daycare, week-long camps, summer classes, or at grandma’s.  It’s a wonderful time to take a break from the routines of the school year.

Yet when they’re not in those activities, you may wonder how to occupy them.  Too much free time can lead to sibling fights, video games all day long, and grumpy kids and parents.  Here are a few summertime activities for kids you might try to make the months more enjoyable and profitable:

Create a summer reading list.  Find interesting books with good characters/lessons for your children at every age and stage.  Request the books you want from the library.  Challenge your children to begin reading at the next level.  I just read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (and loved it).  My 10-year-old son will gobble it up today.

Stick to a basic schedule.  On most days, we’re going to begin with school for 60 minutes.  Yes, we are.  The kids will have spelling and vocabulary words, workbooks, and books to read.  Once they get that big rock in, they’ll be able to goof off.  Other regular summer activities for us include martial arts and piano.  Have certain things you do each day if you can.  Of course there will be days when you head for the beach, go to the park, visit friends, etc.  You don’t have to be a slave to the schedule.  Just use it for enough structure so you and your kids know what’s expected.

Keep bedtimes and wake-up times as consistent as possible.  Maybe you’ll be going to bed one hour later and getting up one hour later.  Try to be as consistent as you can which will make the transition back to school much easier.  And it will help your kids get a good night’s sleep to be happier for you!

Use a calendar to highlight special days.  Going on a trip?  Headed for the museum or the amusement park?  Make a big deal of it and milk that anticipation for all it’s worth!

Think staycation.  What are local things that you’ve always wanted to do but you never have time for?  I picked up a local events calendar and found two free things to put on my calendar including an air show that my son will love.

Keep screen time to 2 hours or less a day.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 2 hours or less screen time for kids age 2-18.  Structure your day and activities to get yourself as close as you can to that number.

Go outside.   Don’t let your kids spend the whole summer indoors.  Go outside!  Get out the sidewalk chalk.  Go to your friend’s house to swim.  Have a picnic with PBJs.  Keep it simple and keep heading outside (maybe early in the morning or after dinner if it’s too hot during the day).

What are your go-to activities for your kids this summer?


Arlene Pellicane

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