For kids, summer is a time to slack off, goof off, and generally forget they have any sort of responsibilities whatsoever. And yes, while there is room for some of this, it’s the job of parents to make sure their children stick to good habits during the free-for-all that is summer break. Without some sort of schedule, kids can waste valuable time, fall behind in their education, and develop risky behaviors. Here’s how you can make sure your child maintains safe, productive habits.
Schedule time to learn/improve at a hobby
Instead of just setting a strict summer schedule for the sake of fitting in time to read, do chores, and setting consistent sleep patterns (all of which are important), use a summer schedule to build in time for self-improvement. Learn or get better at a task or hobby.
“If you love doing something enough, you should find time to do it. It will make you happier and healthier, which means you’re bound to do better in school and everything else as well,” notes HerCampus.com “Set aside a time every few days or every week, for instance, to pursue your newly found hobby. By working it into your schedule, it won’t feel like something you can do without,”
Setting goals for the summer is a great way to make sure kids stay occupied in a productive manner. One or two summer’s end goals is probably enough – you don’t want to overdo it and spread your child too thin. Summer still needs to feel like summer.
Prevent education stagnation
Though you want a good part of the summer to be about outdoor activities, sports, games, pool time, and just lounging around, you would be doing your child a disservice not to schedule in some sort of educational activity almost every day. Whether your kid needs help on a specific school subject they’re struggling with, or you simply want to give them a kickstart for the next school year, there are plenty of ways to fit education into the summer schedule – and a lot of it can even be fun.
- Schedule reading hours every day. This one is a no-brainer. Have you child sit down and read a book every day of the summer. Coordinate with their school to see if they can get a head start on any of the upcoming year’s reading materials.
- Take educational trips. In most cities/towns in the US you’re never too far away from some sort of museum, national landmark, or historical site of significance. Schedule day trips and even longer vacations with education in mind.
- Get your child involved in summer meals. “Cooking is a great way to teach about measurements and how to use fractions. Theme nights for dinner not only teach cooking skills, but math, as you teach your child how to measure and convert weights, volumes and numbers,” notes The Huffington Post.
Talk to your child about the dangers of substances
Summer, with all its free time, increases the chances of your child experimenting with or falling into patterns of risky behavior. You must keep an open communication line when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Your kid needs to know that they can be honest with you without fear of unjust punishment, yelling, or any other general overreaction. Use books, TV, and movies as segways into frank discussions.
“Take advantage of ‘teachable moments’. If you see a character in a movie or on TV with a cigarette, talk about smoking, nicotine addiction, and what smoking does to a person’s body. This can lead into a discussion about other drugs and how they could cause harm,” says one good suggestion.
If you want to make sure your child sticks to good habits this summer, you need to set a schedule, occupy their time, and focus on fun sources of education and other out-of-the-box learning experiences. On top of that, you need to be frank about the dangers of substances, which can increase as your child spends more free time with friends during the summer months.
Author: Laura Pearson