By: April Powell
After a long and busy school year, I think we’re all looking forward to the slower pace of the upcoming summer break. Just as we are ready for a little break and some sunshine, so are the children. Whether you’ll be enjoying the awesome summer program at OakHaven, off to another camp or just taking it easy at the pool, things will surely be different for both you and your children.
As excited for the summer as we all are now, it never fails that by the end of June or mid-July I have desperate parents calling me because their children are already wanting to start school again and they’ve got to get through two more months. Three months is a very long time – especially for a child!
I have found that the more proactive we are as parents, the more peaceful the summer break is for everyone. Here are a few ideas to help your summer go smoothly:
•Keep a routine. Although we all enjoy taking some time to stop and smell the roses, don’t forget how important routine is for children (particularly the younger ones). No matter what your plans for the summer are, find a way to create a routine that works for the whole family. It is especially important to assure that sleeping and eating habits are not neglected.
•Get your child involved. Summer provides lots of wonderful opportunities and extended periods of time for you to give your child the chance to be a productive member of your household. When you’re home together, use the time you have to show your child how to wash the windows, make waffles, fold the laundry or weed the garden. These are fantastic practical life activities that can be completed lovingly and joyfully together. You’ll probably be surprised at what your child can and likes to do when invited rather than ordered.
•Spend time outdoors (and lots of it). Turn that TV off (and computer, and video game, and…) and get outside as much as you possibly can. There are so many exciting “secrets” in the natural world that are just waiting to be discovered by children. And, if you just allow him/her to, your child may even discover that spiders are pretty neat and he/she really isn’t afraid of them at all (in spite of all that conditioning)!
•Keep busy. Probably one of the biggest challenges children have with summer vacation is that they get bored. Three months is a very long time if you don’t have something productive to do with it. If you can’t think of enough purposeful activities, be sure to sign up for at least several sessions of our summer program. We always keep a nice balance of activity, fun in the sun and purposeful work for the children here.