Summer is here. Encouraging these five things will keep children, and parents, smiling all season.
School is out, making it officially summertime Middle Tennessee. Summer is a wonderful time for kids and parents to enjoy the carefree spirit of the season. But without homework, alarm clocks and schedules, children can easily check out entirely.
The school year has its “three Rs — reading, writing and ‘rithmetic,” right? Consider the following the five Rs for helping children get the most out of summer:
Whether children escape in the pages of an epic story or deepen their knowledge of almost any subject with nonfiction, reading will keep their minds sharp and their imaginations alive over the summer. Depending on your children’s ages and reading abilities, consider a challenge (like the free summer program offered by the Nashville Public Library) that pushes your child to read something new.
Vacations, camps and other activities may prevent your child from spending time with his or her school friends during the summer. Set up get-togethers to help cultivate your child’s friendships and keep them connected to classmates. Summer can feel isolating to some children who long to see the friends they normally spend time with during the academic year. Make it a priority to keep their friendships fresh until they return to school this fall.
Without demanding schedules pulling us in many directions, it can be tempting to check out completely and plan nothing during the summer. While I believe in keeping things simple, I know kids long for and need adventure. Plan one fun activity a week or a few each month. Do something new or exciting a few times throughout the summer. Research events and activities in your area and say yes to a few.
It’s hard enough to get kids to do chores when they are used to daily structure. Take away that schedule and forget it, right? It may take a little work. It may require coaxing or a reward system. But summer is a great time to teach kids a new task or ask them to take on a new responsibility, because they’ll have ample free time to tackle it. Teaching children that responsibilities do not disappear with changing seasons is a life lesson that will follow them into adulthood.
After all is said and done, our kids need rest. They need freedom and space. They need down time and extra sleep. They need a day here and there to just be.
I am one of those moms who could get really overwhelmed with the change of routine that summer brings, but focusing on these five simple areas can help in being proactive and intentional. When kids stay connected with these aspects of their life and development, they will be recharged and thriving when school starts again.
This post was written by Jessica Wolstenholm, co-founder of Grace for Moms and co-author of The Pregnancy and Baby Companion books. After 15 years in the music and publishing industries, Jessica became a stay-at-home mom raising two children.
How do you plan to keep your kids engaged during the summer? Leave a reply below to share your ideas.