Kanika: Summer is here, but it feels different from any other summer. Typically summer break is a time to travel, enjoy the sunshine, spend time with friends and family, however this year, how we spend our summer isn’t as clear — Is it safe to travel? Should we use this time to catch up on school? Take summer school classes? Or is this a time for play? A time to recover and recharge?
Stephanie: Absolutely, I think all families can relate to what you just described. I know I certainly can. On the heels of the pandemic, everything looks a bit different and this certainly applies to summer break.
Kanika: What advice do you have for families when it comes to making the most of this summer break?
Stephanie Tips: School offers kids that needed sense of structure. When summer comes around it’s important to give kids the freedom to play, while offering some structure. The key is finding a nice balance!
- Get into nature. Nature has the ability to heal us, so whether that’s a walk around the neighborhood, hike or a day trip to a nearby national park with your family.
- Create a scavenger hunt together. Before you head out, make a list of things you might see on your walk
- Encourage independence and a bit of downtime
- Start a project that can be worked on a bit everyday
- Studies have shown the importance of having jobs around the house. It’s important to make sure your kids feel like they’re part of the team but contributing with certain chores. This also gives them structure and a sense of accomplishment.
- Encourage play, not academic learning because the good news is that Play is Learning! Like our friend Fred Rogers once said: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” So think of this as your SUMMER OF PLAY!
- Play is so powerful because kids don’t realize just how much they’re learning while playing. It’s like “sneaking” vegetables into the muffin or smoothie recipe to get some greens in there.