01 Oct Make this summer the best one with your children!
By Marie Marchand
Here are a few simple tips to help you:
1. Set aside some time every day to have fun, laugh and giggle with your child.
Connection daily is the most important. Whether it’s running through the sprinkler together on a hot afternoon or counting the stars on a blanket in the backyard before bedtime, do at least one thing a day to connect and have fun. Remember, what matters is always how it FEELS, not how it LOOKS.
2. Make sure that the structure is still there.
Research shows that kids get stressed during the school year from academics, homework, the social scene, and all the activities. They really need time to chill and relax. But they also need structure, meaning they need their day and week to have some kind of a plan so they know what to expect. For instance, every morning after we play, we do errands or pick up the house together for an hour, every afternoon we do an outside activity and every night we read a story and have a cuddle together.
3. Commit to enjoying your life this summer and try to relax.
Children pick up vibes. If you’re stressed, they’ll be stressed, and they’ll fight with each other and drive you crazy. Even if you have to go to work, can you find a way to dial down your stress for the summer? And if you’re lucky enough to be home with the kids, don’t you deserve a fun summer as much as your children do? Stay positive and fun, this will create a relaxed, happy mood in your house.
4. Help your kids develop a healthy relationship with time.
Teach the children that time flies by fast and that they should try to really do stuff that will enhance their lives. Try to make them agree that being on the computer or their phone will not past time very positively. Brainstorm ideas with them of what they could spend their time doing and help them make it happen. (Ex: make a book of jokes, build a fort with blankets and pillows, put on music and dance, make up a choreography to present to the family later, make an obstacle course in the yard, walk the dog, bake for the family, paint, start a journal, organise your room, have a lemonade sale, have a garage sale, play cards, put soap in your paddle pool and have fun with bubbles, play board games, use pipe cleaners to make animals, etc)
5. Encourage your child to try something new this summer.
Encourage your children to try something new. This will give them experiences that they could learn from. They can be active or more creative; they can make friends and feel good about their successes. Maybe they want to join a freebee team, a self-defense class, or horseback riding. Maybe they want to write a play and ask their friends to be in it. What about joining a summer camp for a week in a different language?
6. Limit technology to certain times of the day.
When kids are bored and it’s hot outside, screen time has a way of swallowing up all their time. It may be a good babysitter, but we all know that’s not what kids need. The more you limit screen time, the better kids get at finding creative things to do with their time — and the less they bug you to watch TV or play computer games.
7. Plan some fantastic family memories, even if you don’t have the money or time to head off on vacation.
Don’t wait. The key is to get out a calendar and schedule the things you really want to do.
Start at dinner tonight by asking everyone what they’ve loved most about this summer so far. Then ask each person to pick one thing for the whole family to do that will make their summer complete. Set parameters before you start. For instance, no hotel stays, and the total cost of each activity must be under $40 (or whatever your budget is.) Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
Buy a badminton set and have a weekend tournament for all your friends and family, complete with a potluck barbecue.
• Set up a water festival in your backyard that includes dunking, running through sprinklers, a water balloon toss game, a slip ‘n slide, and a water balloon fight. Let your kids invite all their friends, and invite a few of yours, too. Celebrate the end of the day with watermelon.
• Rent bikes and follow a local bike path you’ve never been on. Stop for ice cream cones.
• Have a dinner picnic and watch the sunset (bring the bug repellent.)
• Go to bed really early some night when you’re tired, and get up for the sunrise. Bring donuts and coffee.
• Make homemade ice cream. (You don’t need an ice cream maker, just rock salt and plastic bags; there are recipes online.)
You get the idea. Encourage your family to come up with their ideal scenarios and make a few of them happen. Be sure to take lots of pictures.
8. Put wonderful summer memories in a special book.
On rainy days, the children could learn to make a little memory book of each activity. There are a lot of different programs you can use for free on the web. You can also print out your favourite photos and make a little scrap book together. Let the children decorate the pages and write their comment.
Enjoy the summer and your beautiful children!