Tips for Navigating Summer: Camps, Activities, and CareMar 21, 2023 ● By Kerri DeGraff
By Kerri DeGraff
Around this time of year, I panic when I think about summer. What is my plan for the kids? How am I going to keep them busy? How am I going to keep them active? How am I going to keep them learning?
While we are all excited about the sunshine and warmer weather, the stress of planning everything is difficult. I’ve been navigating keeping three kids, ages 11, 10, and 7, active over the past several summers. I hear the saying that kids need to learn how to be bored, but boredom in my house often turns into wanting to be on electronics or fighting between siblings.
Here is some advice that I have learned on keeping your kids busy and engaged this summer.
Start planning now. It still feels like we are in the throes of winter, but many summer programs are open for registration. And many of those fill up fast, leading to more parental stress. Determine your care plan as soon as possible and select what activities your kids are interested in and what works for your family’s budget and schedule.
Create a village and work together. Regardless of your care situation, having a group of families can work together to get kids to and from camps and activities is extremely helpful. It’s also great when you have a network that can help make sure you know when to sign up for those activities. I’m blessed to have friends who remind me when dress-up days are occurring during the school year, and they also share when camps or fun activities are opening.
If your kids are at home, come up with a daily schedule. It doesn’t have to be rigid or fancy. You can get plenty of ideas from a quick search on the Internet. Our schedule is simple and includes chores, reading, physical activity, getting outside, and free time for fun. We also try to set boundaries and limit time watching TV and playing on electronics.
Keep your children’s minds active and learning. Summer is a great time to take kids to the library and engage them in reading. There are also wonderful camps and classes in the community to provide unique and fun learning opportunities.
Find ways for your kids to connect with friends. Summer can be lonely for kids who are used to seeing their closest friends daily at school. Make connections with parents before school gets out to provide opportunities for kids to connect in the summer. Ask these parents about their kids’ activities and consider signing up your kids together.
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