So your kids have been out of school for a few weeks now. They pictured long days of uninterrupted video games. You pictured something more like sleeping in, clean bedrooms; happy carefree days of Summer! Now you hear, “I’m bored”, arguing and defiant protests to your requests for help!
What can you do?
Let’s make a plan to put some structure to your Summer days. Your expectations will depend on the ages of your children. I will speak primarily to your pre-teen kids
1. A Time to Rise: Sleeping in late can lead to lethargic, irritable and unmotivated children (adults too!). Rising 30 – 60 minutes later than a school morning will satisfy the sense of sleeping in without jeopardizing the mood of the day.
2. Chores: Have a reasonable, age appropriate chore chart for each child to be completed before any planned activity. Having assigned chores gives each family member a place of belonging in the family, teaches responsibility and rewards accomplishments.
3. When – Then Practice: ‘When’ tasks are completed, ‘Then’ the fun begins. There are many free to inexpensive activities which you can engage with your children in. Pack a picnic lunch (or supper if dad can join you after work). Go to splash parks or local playgrounds. Find a beach with sand, take your pails and shovels and watch your kids imagination take off! Take your bikes out, grease those chains and head out together along trails and quiet country roads. Set up a sprinkler in your back yard and have a water fight. When you consistently spend time with your children, you strengthen their attachment to you that can be subtly undermined during the school year.
4. Swimming Lessons: Summer is an excellent time to improve swimming skills. Lessons are available at most public pools and your children will get extra practise at the beach.
5. Reading Clubs: Most communities have Public Libraries which host Reading Club Programs over the Summer. This makes an additional weekly outing to choose books and keep reading skills for digressing over the holidays. You can also choose ‘Chapter Books’ such as old classics or newer series and read a chapter out loud each day. These book usually have age appropriate suspense and encourage anticipation.
6. Camping: Camping together is often a Summer highlight.Finding a treed camp site with a nearby beach will entertain your children for hours. If they are old enough, take their bikes along. They can bike the trails and loops in the campgrounds. Paddle boats to speed boats, tubing and fishing are all exciting ways to spend an afternoon. There is nothing like the excitement of camp fires, smores and sleeping bags!
7. Bible Clubs: Check your community for local churches that hold Daily Vacation Bible Clubs. These weekly clubs are free and usually are held in the mornings for about two hours. Your children will learn songs, make crafts, learn Bible stories and hang out with other children their age.
8. Camps: For older children , Summer camps are available. There are day camps like after school care or there are ‘Sleep Over’ 5 day camps. These camps can be costly requiring you to budget ahead. A few of these camps are subsidized helping with the costs. Any camp these days have required screening for all staff for your child’s safety. These camps will have organized sports, crafts, campfires, great songs and stories. Your children will come home full of stories and excitement.
In conclusion, the Summer days are often the only uninterrupted time you have to teach your children your valves, world view and your faith. By spending fun times, you build into your relationships. Teaching in action is always considered to have a greater impact than just words. Electronics – although they have a place in our culture – will steal from the privilege to influence your children’s character in positive ways. Spending time, enjoying your children will also give you all wonderful memories in the future. Have a great Summer together because school will be here again before you know it.