It’s finally summertime!
For some, the summer months can be very exciting and fun. For others, it can bring about boredom and sadness. During the school year, kids are on a consistent, structured scheduled with a host of activities and a community of friends. Once school is out, that all changes. Summer is welcomed by long days, late nights and inactivity. Kids can get very bored; with that boredom, can come sadness and possible depression. In this way, summer can be a real let down. It’s important for us to keep this in mind and plan activities accordingly.
Physical exercise daily has been proven to increase self-esteem and reduce depression in children and adults alike. It’s important that children continue to take time to play and to engage in social activities with friends. Children need to stay occupied. When idle, children are more likely to engage in bad habits and/or bad behaviors. As parents, it is our job to monitor idle time and intervene accordingly. Screen time should be limited to 2 hours a day. The same goes for video games. The less time kids spend on their phones/ tv/ video games the better.
Below are some ideas to keep your little ones busy this summer.
Plan outdoor activities such as:
– going to the zoo
– swimming at the pool
– attending a summer camp
– sauntering and a picnic in the park
If it’s a rainy day, you can always venture out to an aquarium, a children’s museum, or the library (they have some great summer reading programs for kids of all ages).
Get creative! If you run out of ideas, arts and crafts are always a good go to, or you can designate light chores (depending on age) to foster accountability.
Importantly, make sure to structure the days. Children feel a sense of safety and inner confidence when they know what to expect. Having a few things planned provides something to look forward to every week. Structure and consistency can help children organize their minds and emotions and can foster a sense of purpose.
Last but not least, you should seek to create a balance. Summer is a welcomed and much needed break for many. Over-scheduling can crowd our room for creativity and growth. Building in an appropriate amount of down-time will provide space for creativity and imagination to thrive. While too much idleness and/or isolation can lead to sad or depressive feelings. Balance is the key to happy and healthy kids.