By Lenore Pranzo, LMFT
It’s that time of year again, school is almost out and the kids will be home all day. Some parents love the laid back schedule of summer, while others find it hard to adjust to the energy level kids have in the summer. For those who love the summer there is no need to read on. For the rest of you, here are a few tips on dealing with summer.
How to embrace the slower pace of summer:
- Decide on the right amount of activity for your children. Depending on their age you can ask them for their opinion. Maybe a few weeks of camp over the course of the summer will be enough for you and them.
- Pick a few things you really want to do with the kids and spread those out over the whole summer.
- Try and remember what you loved about the summer while you were a kid and see if you can replicate that for your kids.
- Remember it isn’t about quantity, but quality.
Keep it simple. You are not an entertainment director. It is not necessary for your kids to have complicated activities every moment of every day. Here are some ideas for easy activities:
- The blanket thrown over the clothes line that turns into a secret cave.
- The sprinkler that always seemed to catch you unaware.
- Sleeping outside – right in front of the kitchen door – in the wilds of the back yard.
- Buy some 3 packs of white t-shirts (Fruit of the Loom, Hanes or whatever) and let the kids design a shirt with fabric markers.
- Solicit information from their teachers if they are in school about some easy, fun things to do that will also help them in the fall when school starts.
One other idea that I read about recently is to set up free camp for your kids:
- Coordinate with two or more families that you trust and who have similar parenting styles to yours.
- You each take a day to have all the kids at your house.
- You plan a few activities and crafts for the kids.
- Each kid brings his or her own food in a cooler.
- You only have all the kids once a week.
- You get free days to yourself while your kids are at the other “camps”.
- The kids get to have time with close friends in a slow paced comfortable environment.
Remember summers vacations are getting shorter and shorter each year. Long gone are the three month summers of our youth. Two months is about all they get and it goes really fast. Allowing your kids to have more unstructured time is helpful in creating the much needed break from the rigors of school. They will thank you for it. Of course that may not happen until they are adults, but I promise they will thank you.
Lenore Pranzo, MA, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Redding, CT with a private practice in her home and an office in Fairfield. She is a mother of 5 year old twin boys. She works with couples, teens, groups and individuals on issues including substance abuse, fertility, anxiety, depression, marital strain, and stress management. Her website is www.reddingcounseling.com and phone is 203.274.0158.