Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer vacation--for the kids, not you

Kickin' it old school
I remember when my child was younger, summer was a challenge. I never had much money and tried to rig up fun things for her to do, which also amounted to someone caring for her out of the house (I worked at home). Try all this on a strict budget. Whew.

One summer, she took two buses to a free DC program of total immersion German (to this day, she claims to not speak a word). She took advanced swimming. She took life saving. I traded helping a church day program with their newsletter for a spot for her in their program. I also used our scarce resources to join a hotel pool for the summer--and we spent all weekend days and many evenings at the pool.

Stephanie Marcy, PhD, writing for Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, says kids may dream of endless X-Box, but parents may want something more. She suggests you think in terms of:

--Stimulation. Plan visits to say, a farm, a museum, or just the beach to delve into the tidepools. Check out reading lists the school sends home--a trip to the library may be in order. How about a kids cooking class or volunteering at a nonprofit? And, if course, there is camp, both day and sleepaway.

--Schedule.Give the kids structure--maybe on a chart on the fridge. Put in a few days with no agenda.

--Sleep. Try to keep kids to a decent sleep routine--not this all night stuff, followed by up at noon.

--Socialization. Help the kids build healthy relationships with play dates or at very least, with scrutiny of their friends. Maybe you can trade "care" with friends of your own with kids.

--Screen control. Try to get the kids to unplug during the day so they can enjoy the warm weather and outside activities.

--Self-sufficiency. Urge kids to be more independent. Make goals for them--such as learning to tie their shoes or make breakfast--and help them achieve them by summer's end.

Or how about getting that garage cleaned out--that's a fun goal.

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