School is almost out. Some parents are ready for going from school to summer, because it means no more alarm clocks, lunch-making or schlepping back and forth to school and extracurricular activities. For other parents, the beginning of summer represents dramatic shift in routine that's hard to get a handle on. For kids that thrive on a schedule, the lazy days of summer can feel much too free.
How do you find the balance? Prepare for the transition from school to summer by establishing a routine, staying social and getting outdoors.
Do it Daily
Kids can get thrown for a loop when they don't know what to expect during the week. Create a routine--even if it's much more relaxed than your school-year schedule--and stick to it. Your routine may involve:
-guidelines about when kids can watch TV or play video games
-times for meals and snacks
-a regular bedtime
-scheduled time to play outside
-family play time, like game nights or movie nights
Kids are used to seeing their friends every day at school. Summer doesn't mean that your kids won't get to play with their buddies, though. Help them stay connected by planning play dates. Some options:
-swap childcare (watch a friend at your house one morning, and send your child to the friend's house in the afternoon)
-Create a Facebook group with the parents of your kids' friends and arrange get-togethers.
-Join a mommy Meetup group.
-Post on social media when you're heading to the park, the aquarium or the beach and see if anyone wants to join you.
-Put it on a calendar; you're more likely to plan a play date if you schedule it.
It can be easy to get sucked into screen time, especially when you're trying to get your kids out of your hair. Encourage your children to stay active during the summer. They can:
-Create a playset for their favorite toys outside using bricks, pavers, pieces of wood, stones and sticks.
-Splash in puddles
-Play in the sprinkler
-Ride bikes or scooters on the lawn
-Join you in a daily outdoor yoga session
-Put together a picnic
-Put on sun protective swimsuit and do one of these 15 activities.
Click here to get some more tips about getting active with your kids.
Be the most prepared parent by stocking up on summer essentials now so that you don't have to worry about it later. Purchase plenty of sunscreen. You don't want to realize that you've run out in the middle of your beach day. Give the children extra protection by putting them in sun protective clothing for kids. Finally, don't forget to protect yourself this summer. Even though you're a busy parent, you don't have to neglect your own self-care just because you're busy chasing your kids. Fill your closet with sun protective clothing so that you don't have to stress about staying out in the sun.