“Summer afternoon..Summer afternoon….the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James
Summer lives in our imaginations throughout the year because it nourishes our souls. The warmth….the fun…the sheer deliciousness. But mostly, the luxury of time, unbounded by school. Time to explore, to make new friends, to lie on your back and watch the clouds billow. The vivid aliveness and freedom of a child’s summers can change her forever.
Does this sound like the summer your child is having? Or is he glued to an electronic screen, or having to get up early for camp so you can go to work? Or has he gotten so used to constant stimulation that he’s complaining he’s bored?
You CAN reclaim summer for your family. In fact, you can make this the best summer ever with your kids. It doesn’t take travel or a lot of money. All it takes is your time.
That’s right, your time. I know that sounds like the one thing you don’t have enough of. If you’re anything like most parents, you have a long list of things that need to get done and you feel a little (or a lot!) overwhelmed. But it’s summer. Your kids won’t be kids forever. This is the stuff their childhood memories are made of. These are the experiences that shape who they become.
Of course, your kids also need plenty of lazy summer afternoons with not much happening. So finding that sweet spot of “just enough” activity without over-scheduling is the goal.
As George R.R. Martin says, “Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.” Why not decide now to make the most of this opportunity to connect with your kids? Here are FIVE simple tips to make this summer your best summer ever with your kids:
1. Set aside some time every day to have fun with your child. Whether it’s running through the sprinkler together on a hot afternoon or counting the stars on a blanket in the backyard before bedtime, do at least one thing a day to connect and have fun. Remember, what matters is always how it FEELS, not how it LOOKS. Your child doesn’t need a Martha Stewart activity; just a loving connection with you.
2. Find the “sweet spot” for structure. Research shows that kids get stressed during the school year from academics, homework, the social scene, and all the activities. They really need time to chill and relax. But they also need structure, meaning they need their day and week to have a shape — so they know what to expect. For instance, every morning after we play, we do errands or pick up the house together for an hour, and after lunch we have reading time and then quiet time. Every afternoon we run through the sprinkler or go to the pool.
3. Commit to de-stressing and just enjoying your life this summer. Kids pick up our attitudes. If you’re stressed, they’ll be stressed, and they’ll fight with each other and drive you crazy. Even if you have to go to work, can you find a way to dial down your stress for the summer? And if you’re lucky enough to be home with the kids, don’t you deserve a delicious summer as much as your children do? Your positive attitude will create a relaxed, happy mood in your house.
4. Help your kids develop a healthy relationship with time, one that includes the important life skill of being comfortable with their own company, without technology. Time is, after all, what life is made of. To help kids learn to reclaim their time, set up a Boredom Buster Jar. For great ideas to put in the jar, and more on why it’s good for kids to have a chance to be bored, click here.
5. Encourage your child to try something new this summer. There’s no time like the summer to dabble, experiment, and play with creativity. Maybe she wants to try painting, or self-defense classes, or horseback riding. Maybe he wants to try writing a short story or learn how to throw a frisbee well. New activities encourage brain development and build your child’s focus, frustration management and impulse control.
For more interesting tips to enjoy the best summer with your kids and nurturing your child’s creativity, check below :
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