It’s almost here… The weather is changing, the days are getting longer, and summer is on the horizon. Although this can be an exciting time, it can also cause a lot of stress for both parents and children. Here are a few tips to starting summer on the right path.
1.Set up a routine
It’s important to know that children thrive on a routine. Children need structure to their day, and they do better when they understand what is coming up next. Depending on the age of your children, you can put together a schedule together or set one up for your family. Be sure to post the schedule somewhere where everyone can see it, like the kitchen fridge. To ensure a smooth summer for everyone, try to stick to the schedule as closely as possible.
Tip: Depending on your child’s developmental stage, it can be beneficial to create a visual schedule. Add pictures or icons next to each activity so your whole family can stay on the same page throughout the day.
2. Planned flexibility
Yes, planned flexibility sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s also essential to your summer plans. Behaviors tend to arise when children feel that they are lacking structure. So, while it’s good to be spontaneous and enjoy those fun summer plans, consider keeping structure for your children whenever possible.
Keep this in mind if you have fun summer day trips planned. If 2 or 3 of the days during the week are busy and off schedule, then it might be a good idea to spend the rest of the week finding fun activities to do around the house. Spending too many days with late bedtimes, little quiet time, and no independent play can adversely affect your child’s behaviors.
Tip: Another piece of planned flexibility, is to give your children plenty of forewarning if their schedule is going to change. Children have better behaviors when they understand what is coming next, so explain to them in advance if their schedule is going to shift. It’s also a good idea to post it on a calendar or on the daily schedule, so they can see the change visually.
3. Have fun with summer, together!
Summer is a special time of the year, as it calls for more free time, new experiences, and more family bonding. Spend the beginning of the summer brainstorming new places you want to visit and activities you want to try.
To relieve some of the pressure off of you, work together as a family to enjoy these special treats. For example, if you decide as a family that you want to have a movie night in the yard, let your children help rearrange the furniture, clean up their toys, put together the snacks, and create invitations for movie night. This lets them enjoy the special event longer and it allows you to relinquish some of the stress.
Following these tips will allow you to have a more relaxed and easygoing summer. Remember, there’s no reason to stress about summer. Kids are generally happy to just have time to play more, spend more time outside, and spend more time with their family. Happy Summer!