By Kelly Guidry, LPC-S
Much anticipation is brewing as summer is quickly approaching. Kids are ready to be done with school and vow that the summer is going to be so much fun! After about one week, who has heard their child say, “I’m bored”. What does boredom do? Creates a recipe for a child to start acting out, getting agitated, becoming disruptive, or even experiencing elevated levels of anxiety and depression. Children have far more time in the summer, so being ready and prepared to find ways to engage with your child is necessary.
Let them Socialize
Throughout the school year, most children are automatically exposed to numerous opportunities of socialization. Summertime presents challenges for natural socializing to occur. Find ways to let your children socialize.
- Plan play dates
- Find a summer camp for them to be involved in
- Take them to the swimming pool
- Encourage them to contribute ideas of how they can socialize
- Get them involved in a community event over the summer
Build in Structure
Find a way to develop some routines and structure during the summer. Giving kids something to look forward to and expect is a good way to establish some sense of structure during those long summer days. Finding a way to do a once a week outing, creating a simple evening time structure when everyone is back home, or developing some new traditions for summer weekends are all ways to begin building in this structure. You may even build in down time into your daily routine, so they can have the opportunity to get creative during this time. Allow your children to have a voice in developing the structure by including them in creating a calendar. Giving children a voice works on building their self-esteem and their perception of their own self-worth.
- Have a calendar
- Plan regular (even if its once per week) outings
- Create new weekend summer traditions
- Make a summer bucket list
- Plan evening time rituals, e.g. getting them to help cook
- Ask your child what they want to add to the calendar
Continue their Responsibilities
Many times, chores and responsibilities can be tied to the school year, e.g. pack your lunch bag, make sure your clothes are pulled out at nighttime for the next school day, or do your homework. Just because school is out doesn’t mean that a child shouldn’t have a level of responsibility during the summer. Find replacement tasks, or re-evaluate their responsibilities based on their age.
- Get them to start preparing their lunch
- Give them the responsibility to still pull their clothes out and be dressed at a certain time each day
- Develop daily requirements like reading, building, creating, playing outside, or chores
- Have them help with the yard work
- Ask your child to come up with one chore they believe they can do that is not currently a responsibility
The biggest thing to remember during summertime is to have fun! Enjoy your child(ren). Get creative, flexible, and curious. Spend time exploring, creating adventures, and building memories that will last them a lifetime.
- Find somewhere to go hike and enjoy nature
- Create art projects throughout the whole summer
- Explore your neighborhood through your five senses, as you walk ask your kids to focus only on things they can smell, taste, touch, see, or hear.
- Have an indoor picnic at home
- Check out the GoNoodle App
- Take a day trip to a local museum, historic site, or park
- Make an “I’m Bored” Jar with fun ideas on popsicle sticks
- Ask your kids to contribute to the ideas of fun things they would like to do as a family over the summer
For more fun ideas check out our pintrest boards.