Summer is an exciting time for kids and parents alike! The summer is a great time to engage in outdoor activities, socialize with friends, be creative, and make new memories. Below are some tips for successfully managing your child’s summer break, especially during COVID-19:
Encourage Healthy Habits
Summer is the perfect time to go outside and be active! Encourage your child to engage in safe physical activities like biking, swimming, or running. When possible, engage in physical activity as a family and model for your child appropriate ways to be active.
Go outside and get some Vitamin D! Happiness is linked to being outside and getting fresh air.
Facilitate Creativity and Learning
Just because it is summer doesn’t mean kids’ brains shut down! Prioritize activities that allow your child to use their brain. That could include reading a book, doing arts & crafts, or picking up a new hobby. Look for “teachable moments” throughout the day.
Even when school is not in session, it is important to maintain routines. This means that morning-time, bedtime, and meals should be happening at the same time as during the school year. Children need the consistency of knowing that some things will remain the same.
Preview the schedule with your child every morning. Some families parents may consider creating a written schedule or a picture schedule for each day.
Schedule fun and adventures for your family! Come up with a summer bucket list (that is COVID-19 friendly)—this might include a safe trip to the zoo or beach, or backyard camping adventure.
Set aside special time with each child every day—this could be running outside, making dinner together, or playing with chalk. Have this be a technology-free time! Just 5 minutes daily facilitates a strong parent-child relationship.
Boredom is OK
Lots of kids will complain about being bored in the summer. Parents can respond by empowering their child to accept their boredom and/or problem-solve on their own. Say something like:
- “I love being bored! I can’t wait to see what you end up doing!”
- “Being bored can be frustrating, and I trust that you can handle it”
- “This sounds like a great time to try something new and exciting”
Families can create a bored jar with different slips of paper, each with an activity—with prompting, children can pick something from the bored jar to do. Summer is a great time to try something new!
Preparing for Big Emotions
Playing in the sun can be tiring! Fun-filled days can sometimes end in a child melting down and showing big emotions. Parents can be proactive in structuring the day with plenty of breaks to set their child up for success. Parents can also teach their child strategies for calming down, including taking deep breaths or slowly counting to 10, and prompt children to use these strategies in the moment.
Even though social distancing is easier to manage outside, there are still important safety considerations. Parents can tell children that it is still important to work together to prevent sharing germs. Have your child (safely) participate in organizing a socially distant playdate, cleaning up around the house, or making a DIY mask.