Tips for Creating a Solid Summer Schedule for Your Child
The words “summer” and “schedule” may induce groans from your freedom-loving child, but when it comes down to it they need a little bit of structure in their lives – even during the summer. Not only does it help to make sure your child spends their summer months in a productive manner, but it also helps them to stay out of trouble. Don’t let them know this, but setting a schedule can even provide them more, not fewer, fun summer experiences. Here are some tips for creating a solid summer schedule for your child.
Let your kids be involved in the schedule making
It’s your child’s summer, after all. You want it to be filled with fun activities. If you let your child help you make their summer schedule, they’ll be much more likely to go along with it.
One trick is to create a pool of summer activities. Make your child build their schedule from this pool. Populate this pool with fun activities as well as the ones you really want on there, like reading/tutoring time and summer community projects.
Schedule one “educational” activity per day
Learning shouldn’t stop when school stops. If you keep your child’s education going throughout the summer, they’ll be less likely to fall behind when school starts back up. Make sure to schedule an educational activity every day of the summer. This can be reading, tutoring, watching a documentary, or taking a trip to a museum or national landmark. Be creative, but make sure you’re keeping your child’s brain engaged.
Don’t forget to make the schedule somewhat similar to the school year schedule
There’s nothing worse than having a child who has spent their whole summer on a weird schedule, only to be completely shellshocked when they are forced to get back into a regular routine. You can prevent this by making the summer schedule closely mimic the normal year schedule.
“[Summer] may be different than during the school year, never the less, they still need a routine. Have them wake up, shower, and go to bed around the same time every day. Maintaining a regular daily routine will keep them healthy, happy, and productive,” says one solid suggestion.
Break up the home monotony with summer camp
Everyone needs a break from the dog days of summer. Life at home can get a little boring for all parties involved. Summer camp is a good way to get a break from the monotony. Make room for it in your child’s summer schedule.
“Children need resiliency skills: self-esteem, life skills, self-reliance, and pro-social behaviors. The camp experience offers a nurturing environment away from the distractions and, in some cases, the hostile environment of the city,” notes the American Camp Association.
Social education is just as important as book learning, and sending your child to a summer camp for part of the summer with give them this opportunity. Not only that, but you’ll cherish the few weeks you’ll have to yourself (and no, it’s not bad to admit that). Talk to your child about summer camp. Ask them if they want to experience the full 24/7 camp experience or would rather come home at nights. Think about whether they are focused enough on a single activity to attend a specialty camp.
Summer is a time for fun and freedom – but it’s also an opportunity to keep your children on a well-rounded schedule that will set them up for success throughout the year. When kids have too much spare time, the risk of developing bad habits increase. Talk to your kids about the dangers of experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and make sure they know they can talk to you in a judgement-free environment. This, coupled with a strict but flexible schedule, will keep your child safe and happy this summer.
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