With all the excitement and hype leading up to summer, sometimes summer turns into a sit-around-the-tv fest, a sugar-fest, or bugging-the-parents-till-they-cave fest. To prevent your child’s mental decay and falling off the progress bandwagon, while also allowing your kids to be kids, this list is prepared to help you and your kids become the best versions of themselves during the summer months.
No kid wants to hear about a bedtime during the summer. Yet when bedtimes slip out too far, so too does the entire day, your summer, and also the “pleasant” child you thought you had! Proper sleep is important for the development of children (and teens, too!). This is why balance is important. Balancing a kid’s desire to stay up and enjoy the summer, yet also ensuring they get proper sleep is important for your kids developing lifelong healthy habits. So, let ‘em stay up a little longer but also focus on the importance of sleep – let them sleep in a little longer. Have an early morning? Remind them it’s early to bed.
In our blended family, bed time is non-existent when the kids visit their mother (every other week in the summer, every other weekend during the school year). Co-parenting is a challenge when one parent has an uninvolved parenting style and the other has an authoritative parenting style. All we can do is cope and think about what’s best for the kids. When they come home they do feel we are being strict. But we place high priority on our values and doing what we know is best for the kids – despite pressures from others and wanting to be the parent that’s “cool”. Without a doubt we can tell a difference in the kids’ wellbeing when they’ve obtained proper sleep. They are more positive. They look forward to doing new things. They are able to better deal with their emotions.
Along with bedtimes, eating can sometimes be a “what’s convenient and when you’re hungry” type-sort-of thing. Involving the kids in food preparation and incorporating fresh, local foods is a sure win when it comes to health (and the environment! Local is better!). To make this easier, consider a little meal-prep so you don’t feel like you’re cooking all day long and not able to get out and do anything else. Pasta salads and pre-cut veggies and fruits make it so much easier to choose more healthful options. Planning frequent visits to the farmer’s stands along the road is also a fun piece of summer – kids love digging in as soon as they can to fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies.
Each of the kids in my family likes something different. When one says they like blueberry muffins, the other likes banana muffins. I feel like I’m going to go bananas sometimes if you know what I mean! Variety is so important, as is compromise. Saying things like “last time we got blueberry so this time we’ll get banana” is a way to keep it fair and also to ensure the kids are involved with their choices. (No, I don’t make my own muffins. Mine taste like cardboard no matter how many recipes I try!) Asking the kids what they would like for dinner is another way to encourage even the pickiest eaters. A little love in the kitchen goes a long way!
Sometimes summer is brutally hot. And sometimes kids + heat = recipe for wanting to stay inside with air-conditioning. Swimming is a great way to have fun and stay cool, but hiking is another way kids can be shielded by the trees and still have a great time in nature. There is something healing about being with nature. Hikes are always a great way to explore the planet, get exercise, bond and just have fun.
When my toddler goes out in the woods with us, I have a hard time just letting him explore (Those rocks are too sharp and wobbly! Poison Ivy! He’s going to trip on the sticks). My husband has taught me to let him explore without being mama bear. I’m learning to bite my tongue. I stay close and I am there for him if he needs me. He needs to love exploration, not to fear it.
Make Use of Free (or Paid) Educational Tools.
When boredom strikes, and it’s only a matter of time before it does, pull out some handy worksheets for your kids to work on (Remember that too much screen time is like a soul-sucker for kids; turning them into little vampires who begin to compare the world to the sometimes unrealistic, flat characters they see on the tube). Education.com gave me a cool transportation-themed worksheet to share with my readers! Check it out here: word tracer_travel (I did not receive any compensation for posting!).
“Little ones are always on the move, so they will love tracing these transportation words. Words tracers are great for helping kids practice letter recognition and pre-reading skills in addition to pencil grasp and fine motor skills. They will also enjoy the satisfaction of tracing entire words. For even more language arts resources, ride over to education.com!” – education.com
Cheers and wishing you happy and healthy summer planning!