Surviving Summer [Guest Post!]

Well, us Erickson’s are out this week, in Moab, UT , climbing and hiking and making s’mores :). Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. Guest blogger Katherine Simms is sharing some tips on surviving summer. 

Summer is a great time of year. Kids are out of school, the weather is nice, and there is plenty of opportunity to spend time together. Although it seems like the days are endless, lazy, and fun, it can also be a time of high stress for parents who are not used to having their kids around during the day. I would like to offer several tips to making the most of this break.

Allow time for rest and relaxation

Kids that are used to being in school for most of the year need time to rest from the rigor of school work. Allow them to experience education in an informal way. If you home school or your child attends school year-round, take this time to find other ways to teach academic skills. Think outside the box on ways to provide an enriching experience for your son or daughter. Ensure you allow time for sleeping in, taking naps, and doing the things your body tells you to do.

Set a schedule

Many parents and kids find that the summer goes by more smoothly when there is a general schedule that is followed. As I mentioned above, taking time to rest is necessary and can be scheduled into your daily or weekly routine. Sleep in, you don’t have to allow your kids to sleep all day but let up a little on the alarm clock, especially the first few days. After they get into a rhythm, let them sleep in but have a cutoff time when they must be awake.  Plan your day or week. There are many ways to plan for the summer months.  If you are traveling, use the travel as a starting point and work around it. Add activities to your family calendar that are already set, then fill in the blanks. You may want to plan for the week and let the days fall into place (Monday is crafting, Tuesday is grocery shopping and cooking, Wednesday is play-dates, etc.) You can also be more specific and plan for the day.  It is helpful to have a plan for many reasons. A plan allows you to keep things moving/exciting, cut down on behavior issues with bored kids, prepare and plan ahead for activities, and see where you can schedule play-dates, family time, and outings.

Set goals

Whether you want to get the house painted, learn a new hobby, climb a 14er, or see your relatives, setting goals as a family is a great way to get everyone on board and excited. Ask your kids what they would like to accomplish and talk about the necessary steps to get those things done. As mentioned above, putting things on a schedule will help to maintain focus on those goals and ultimately accomplish them.

Get caught up

Summer is a great way to address neglected tasks or activities. Catch up with an old friend, revive a house project that you weren’t able to finish, or read a great book. There are tons of possibilities! Trade weekly play dates with neighborhood parents to get your kids out of the house and provide you with some alone time. Take a class with your kids and learn how to do something new. Purchase the needed materials and finish a project that you started together. Employing your kids’ help (if they are old enough) is a great way to spend some time together and get things done. Pick an issue, volunteer to support a cause, or take a class and learn a new hobby together.

Regarding academics

Cramming in academics during summer break is not totally necessary. Unless your child is below grade level or you have specific concerns regarding their academics, allow your child to absorb and learn through playing with others, exploration, and adventure. If there are academic concerns, the summer is a great time to get some extra help. There are always college kids looking to make some extra money that can tutor your child or ask their school teacher if they, or someone they know, are available to help. A teacher can also recommend some light summer reading or activities to pump up the areas of concern. There are many ways to work academics into summer fun. If you are traveling you may want to send 1 postcard a day or keep a journal (written, voice recorded, or photo). Attend summer camps that are fun and cater to your child’s interests. Start a pen-pal. Encourage your child to put on plays, organize neighborhood parties, play dates, and socials. Now is also the time to join an athletic team or try out a new sport.

A little planning and prep at the beginning of the summer will get you lots of fun times together and possibly a house chore or two done! Look for ways to incorporate learning into everyday activities and family gatherings. Relax, have fun and enjoy these days with your kids. For more ideas and strategies for your family check out my blog.

Katy Simms is a Family Communication and Behavior Consultant in the Denver metro area with a degree in family and personal communication.   She offers easy-to-execute, fun ideas that help families manage stress, stay organized, and communicate productively. 

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