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The Summer Slow Down: The Balance Between Boredom & Bombardment 

By Jennifer Powell-Lunder, Psy.D

As the school year finally comes to a close most parents and students experience some much needed stress relief. The summer however, can be a tricky season to schedule. The desire to kick back and plan absolutely nothing can certainly sound appealing. Parents choosing this course however, often realize a little too late that too much time on their kid’s hands can sometimes lead to trouble. Of course over planning also has its pitfalls, creating stress as kids go from activity to activity, with barely a moment to enjoy the slower pace usually associated with summer. Striking a balance between nothing and too much to do is one of the most common challenges of summer. What follows are a few quick tips to ensure that summer is structured and stress-free:

Schedule According to Each Child

No one knows your child better than you. Keep this in mind when you work out the summer plan. If for example you have an active child who tends to get bored easily, it is important to keep him busy. Boredom can sometimes lead to engaging in higher risk behaviors in the search for excitement. Some children however, become too overwhelmed if they have too much going on. These kids work so hard during the school year that a break over the summer is both needed and necessary to appropriately re-charge in preparation for the upcoming school year.

Take Time Together

These days kids are kept so busy during the school year that except for the time spent together shuttling them from activity to activity, many parents barely have a moment to carry on a conversation with their kids. Use the summer slow down to re-build bonds with your kids. Find activities and interests you can pursue as a family.

Encourage Them to Take Part in the Planning

The best way to avoid complaints about boredom is to offer the opportunity to plan activities together. Even if you already have the summer activities or a vacation pretty much planned, let your kids have a hand in designing the day-to-day schedule. The more empowered they feel in the planning process the more likely they are to engage in the activities elected.

Space Slows the Pace

Even if your summer is set with a busy agenda, it is important to give your kids, and yourself some space and time to relax and de-stress. A little stretching of the rules and some time to kick back may be just the reward your kids require after a long hard school year. It is important however to clarify that while you may be relaxing the rules, they are not being eradicated. This is especially important to communicate to teenagers who may misread the message of relaxed rules and as a result assume anything goes.

The summer is certainly the season to enjoy some down time. Your kids have worked hard throughout the school year. Now is the time for them to engage in a less strenuous schedule. Striking the balance between boredom and bombarding them with things to do can at first seem tricky. When you work together to decide the daily routine you ensure that you and your kids can relax, unwind, and rejuvenate before the beginning of the next school year.

 

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