The Four Winds Blog

Simple Solutions for a Stress-free Summer for You & Your Children

By Jennifer Powell-Lunder, Psy.D

Both you and your kids deserve a relaxing summer of fun in the sun. During the school year most kids have their lives programmed and planned. They split their time between focusing on academics and pursuing outside activities. Parents feel the pressure of ensuring that kids get where they need to go. The down time during summer is usually received with open arms. The key to avoiding summer chaos is a plan that focuses on boredom prevention. Boredom can lead to bad moods and quite often bad choices as kids search to find something to do that feels exciting and fun. For older kids in particular, this lust for a thrill can lead to high risk behaviors and dangerous pursuits. The simple fact is that structure and predictability cut down on mishaps and mayhem. For some parents structured programs provided by camp provide an easy answer. While a summer job or volunteer opportunity can keep an older child busy and productive. 
What  happens however if camp isn’t your child’s thing, or maybe she couldn’t find a job, or his volunteer opportunity fell through? You know that sitting around the house probably isn’t a satisfying solution but you are at a loss about what you should or even can do. 
What follows are a few simple suggestions on how to ward off boredom during the summer. 

  1. A daily schedule can set the tone for the day. Even if the list of activities included for the day include sleeping late and reading a book, writing it down into a schedule makes it seem more meaningful.
  2. Create your own ‘camp’ with your kids. Invite your kids to help you come up with a list of daily activities including some exciting day trips to places of interest. By empowering them to be involved with the choices they are less likely to complain and more likely to engage in the activities you choose together.
  3. Monitoring is a must for older kids. Although the rules may be a bit more relaxed over the summer, it is important to send the message to your teens that you are still keeping close tabs on their activities. Sometimes teens misperceive a relaxed attitude to mean anything goes. When they are aware that you are still watching, they are less likely to engage in concerning behaviors.
  4. Pre-plan a rainy day schedule. Don’t let bad weather impact your day. Come up with a few rainy day alternatives before the sun stops shining. Offer your kids a choice on which one they want to follow. One idea is to ask your children to research and plan an activity or trip for the near future. Ask them to present their research in creative ways (e.g. a poster or play). 

Sit back and let the sunshine in. When you put an organized summer plan in place for your kids, you can rest assured that you will all enjoy the relaxation you deserve.

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