Kanika: Summer is officially underway — School is out, warm weather and longer days are here and after a year of living through a pandemic, that freedom we feel each summer feels even more special. We’ve talked about how finding a balance of play and learning is important, but can you share tips on how families embrace the freedom and flexibility of summer, without losing structure?
Stephanie: I can really relate to this. Kids more than ever need this summer to play, see friends and family and simply enjoy all the activities we weren’t able to experience during the pandemic. However we also know kids need structure. Here are a couple tips to help families strike that balance:
- Create a schedule, yes even in the summer schedules are key!
- I’m not suggesting an hour by hour rigid schedule here (it is summer after all), but rather organizing larger blocks of time dedicated to a variety of categories. Be sure to create what works best for your family but here are some examples: free time, work time, sibling time, outdoor time, creative time, music time and family time.
- Weekly household themes are another fun element to layer into the schedule — for example, cooking week, nature week, gaming week, etc!
- Start a project that can be worked on a little bit everyday. This summer could be a great time for a new scrap book that documents the past 12 months all while being creative and spending time with my daughters
- Make room for kids to take agency
- Creating a schedule offers some structure while also giving kids agency to decide how they’ll spend their time
- It’s also important to make sure your kids feel like they’re part of the team by contributing with certain chores around the house. This also gives them some structure and a sense of accomplishment.
- Self care is child care
- Self care is child care. Taking care of yourself is essential, so find time to recoup and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Establish a healthy balance of independent play and parent and child 1:1 time.
- Encourage children to engage in something because you’re not their entertainment.
- Don’t fear the dreaded “I’m bored”!
- It’s ok for a child to say they’re bored – it’s important that they understand how to get themselves engaged in something.