While summer conjures delightful thoughts of beach days, endless outdoor play, barbecues, and ice cream, parents and children often find the transition from rigid school routines to the free-wheeling days of summer surprisingly challenging.
Within no time, sleep patterns get out of whack, nutritional standards are tossed out the window, and rhythms and routines become scattered. At first, the newfound freedom is liberating, but moods, energy, and motivation can soon suffer.
The good news is that a few simple tweaks can make all the difference. To keep spirits up, moods regulated, and sweet summer fun a regular experience, incorporate these key elements into your summer.
One summer day, you might wake up early for the kids’ camp and, the next night, you may be out late watching fireworks. Summer fun can be exhausting!
While your schedule from one day to the next may vary widely this season, you can still instill a rhythm to the basic parts of each day. Maintain a wake-up routine, regardless of what time you wake up. Do the same for bedtime, mealtime, cleanup routines, etc. Don’t skip important tasks such as running the dishwasher each night, or finishing a load of laundry each day, or whatever keeps your house humming. Keep rhythms steady.
Nutrition and Sleep
Keep the house stocked with whole, nutritious foods that are easy to grab quickly. When food shopping, avoid the bags of chips and boxes of cookies. Make water the beverage of choice to reduce sugar intake. Pay attention to how much sleep everyone’s getting and adjust when necessary. It can be surprisingly easy to go off the rails when it comes to basic needs such as sleep and nutrition. Keep that in mind and give it the attention it deserves. You’ll all be a merrier bunch for it.
Fun Buffered With Boredom
Oh, what fun you can have this summer! It’s tempting to book up every day with adventurous outings and activities. Those are great, but add balance with in-between days of doing nothing and experiencing boredom.
Boredom is great for kids—not to worry. Rest, relaxation, and creative free play will make way for the energy needed for the next day’s exciting adventures.
Get everyone outside as much as you can. See the ocean, the lake, the forest, the park. Unplug from electronics and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Bring a ball, pack a picnic, swim, walk, bike, and make being in nature a top priority for you this summer. The benefits are countless.
Summer is an especially good time to increase your children’s load of responsibilities. Teach them new skills at home—how to do laundry, vacuum, fix things, declutter, cook, take out the trash, or simply put away their toys—whatever is appropriate to their developmental stage. After a brief period of training, you’ll enjoy more help around the house (just when you need it) and your kids will grow in their capacity to contribute and realize their potential.
A Keystone Event
Have something big to look forward to this summer. A vacation, a road trip to visit a relative, a big project, a family event—something that makes this summer unique. You’ll have something to look forward to as a family. Enjoy focusing on preparing for it and making it happen together. If you’re fortunate, this will become a family memory that will be cherished for a lifetime.