Summer is known as that lazy, relaxing time of year. While all kids deserve a break, they still need structure and stimulating activities that nurture their growth and development. What are some pro tips to keep in mind when it comes to your kids this summer?
Vinay Saranga M.D. is a child psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry and offers this advice:
- Create A Summer Schedule: You don’t have to schedule something for every second of the day. The idea is to develop a predictable but flexible daily schedule that can help children thrive. Remember, sometimes boredom can be a trigger for bad behavior. The idea is to still have a routine and agenda, but know that it’s okay to be a little laid back when it comes to sticking to it.
- Create A Calendar: Make it visible to your entire family. Write down daily activities and include a chore/activity chart. This helps children understand what’s expected of them. It also helps enrich their sense of responsibility and integrity all while building their confidence.
- Don’t Skip Reading: Reading should be part of their everyday routine this summer. Whether in the morning or before bed (or both), make it a priority to read with your kids. Of course, the goal of reading is for it to be enjoyed. Get your child involved by going to a local library and scouting out the latest book by their favorite author.
- Sleep Is Still Essential: Sleep, especially at a young age, is essential for healthy growth and brain development. We all benefit from a good night’s rest! Even if you extend bedtime during the summer, make sure your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. Try not to get too far off of their school routine because it will be back in session before you know it!
- Cut Back On Screen Time: Sometimes it’s too easy just to turn on the TV or tablet. When they’re not swimming or riding bikes, find something productive for them to do. Stock up on fun and educational activities that will help your kids continue to grow and learn over the summer break. Colouring books, crosswords, puzzles and board games are all great ideas.
- Some Downtime Is Good: Remember that long days at the pool/beach can cause exhaustion which leads to frustration and overwhelm. Figure out what the right amount of activity is to stimulate your child and incorporate enjoyable activities into their summer routine.
- Keep Them Social. Summer camps, group play and trips to the local playground are all ways to entertain children without screen time. Social settings often encourage imaginary play and creativity all while developing social skills that are essential for a child’s development.
- Incorporate Nature. Let nature be your inspiration this summer! Get your children outdoors for some fresh air. Plan a game of hide-and-seek or set up a nature scavenger hunt that will keep them entertained in a healthy way.
- Make Time for Family: Our kids grow up quickly, so make time to enjoy the summer as a family no matter how old your kids are. Whether planning a vacation out of town or simply a day trip to the beach, the best activities are enjoyed together.
Thanks, Dr. Saranga!w