School’s nearly out and your summer schedule is likely filling fast (or is already full). It’s great to provide structure for kids during summer, but don’t forget to offer time for fun, exploration, and down time.
Camps and other activities can offer lots of learning experiences and enjoyment. They also provide child care for kids. In addition to camps, there are many activities your kids can sign up for to extend their learning, try a new activity, or simply keep busy.
Just remember, it’s easy to become overscheduled in this day and age – and it’s much easier to manage kids who are busy because they always have somewhere to be. But, unscheduled time allows for the opportunity to develop creativity and practice resourcefulness.
So, give yourself a break, and go easy on scheduling knowing that the down time can be good for your kids!
There is something to be gained for the child left to figure out what to do. Boredom can lead to creative notions. Encourage your child to not always be engaged.
Summer is an especially good time to be disconnected without the pressure of academics looming. Even taking a break from friends can be a welcome change to the child who is always “on.”
Tweens and teens can certainly be in charge of themselves, and even make their own arrangements to meet up with others. There is definitely a need to help them understand the responsibility this offers them, and there’s no time like the present to teach that.
Encourage your child to find a job, volunteer, and/or take part in something, but leave it undefined when possible. You can set limits and expectations so they don’t end up spending the entire summer watching television or gaming, but encourage outside-the-box thinking.
Young children, who are not ready to be left completely to their own devices, can still find their own independence and create their own fun. Don’t feel compelled to spend every minute of their down time with them providing entertainment.
Sure, engage in a game of Hide and Seek or Monopoly, but also encourage them to find and make their own fun. Arrange for play dates or just leave them to determine their own activities.
So the next time you hear, “I’m bored,” first offer a toilet brush and cleanser to your child as an option and as they roll their eyes at your for that option, let them go find their preferred alternative.
Amy combines academic research, educational practice, and real-world experience in her writing and workshops to help parents find perspective and develop confidence in raising their families and to help teachers better understand their own practice. She gains invaluable insights from her own personal research subjects (AKA her children and husband) whom she learns from and enjoys every day.
Amy Alamar, EdD, has worked in the field of education as a teacher, teacher educator, researcher, parent educator, and education reformer for over fifteen years. In late 2014, Amy published her first book entitled: Parenting for the Genius: Developing Confidence in Your Parenting through Reflective Practice (For the Genius Press, 2014). The book is a comprehensive guide to becoming the most thoughtful and confident parent possible, with anecdotes and details relating to the guidance and support of children in specific age ranges throughout their formative years. Amy is also a contributing author to the Disney parenting website, Babble.com.
As a frequent speaker to parent and faculty groups, Amy focuses on a wide range of parenting topics including student stress and wellbeing, raising digital natives in the information age, and parenting kids with character. She also conducts faculty development workshops that focus on engagement with learning, professional communication, and curriculum design. She was an invited guest of Michelle Obama at the White House for a conversation about kids’ health in 2016.