School has either let out, or is about to let out, morphing legion of parents into the role cruise director. Much of the time this happens seamlessly and without a lot of fuss. However, I thought I’d offer six tips for those experiencing rough edges in the transition.
• If you’ve got it, spending money on camps and family vacations can be wonderful. But, if you don’t have the money, you needn’t feel badly or create toxic doses of stress by spending/borrowing money you don’t have. (In national survey’s of adult and family based stress financial concerns are almost always a top stress.) First of all, meaning making never requires coin. Second, when many of us were kids we were given a stick and (maybe) a dog and told to go outside–that usually worked out fine. While I appreciate times have changed (and oh have they), there are still many, many engaging activities that can be done on the cheap (e.g., search for “staycation” within this blog). Otherwise consider what your local public facilities have to offer (e.g., excursions to libraries, parks and waterways) or just rotate activity planning among several households.
• High school students, who wish to remain competitive for college admissions. might consider how exciting and rewarding a summer internship can be. I continue to be delighted at how generous professionals, offices, companies and agencies can be in allowing high school students to shadow and hang out; it just requires asking. I realize that this, at first, can seem like extending the high school season to teens. But, and assuming there is an overlap with vocational interests, they are often invigorating.
• Try to limit electronic lethargy (e.g., video game or TV watching marathons). I know some kids might lobby for this under the flag of “why can’t I just relax?!” But these activities, when engaged to excess, can promote or exacerbate numerous problems as well as interfere with wellness goals. A max of two hours a day is a good general guideline (search this blog site for many related tips and resources).
• Try not to allow your child to morph into a vampire sleep schedule. This makes it hard to engage productive and engaging daytime activities that the humans make available.
• Remember, you get to relax too! All of us (blogging psychologists included) need to remember that we do best for our kids when we make (not find) time to do those activities that restore us.
• There are so many helpful blog entries that list creative, fun and engaging summer activities for kids. Here are three that I like:
√ 33 Activities Under $10 that Will Keep Your Kids Busy All Summer
√ 101 Fun Things to Do with Kids This Summer
√ 50 Outdoor Summer Activity for Kids