May 19, 2014
School is almost out in Henderson. Are you ready? Here are some suggestions to make the transition into summer easier for the entire family:
- Don't keep kids too busy. Let children explore during the summer. They need time to relax after the school year. If it's at all possible, let them have a bit of time before you enroll them in summer school, daycare, classes or activities. Remember, they too have been on a rigid structure all through the school year and need a bit of vacation.
- Remember that children do need some structure. Encourage children to join a summer reading club or activity. Ask what they would like to do during the summer and let them rate their choices on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being the one they really want to do or try. Keep it simple and close to home so it's easier with work schedules and daycare.
- Spend more time with your kids to bring the family closer. It's so easy to get caught up in the rat race and go from activity to activity to the point where another week has gone and you haven't even had the chance to catch up,
- Let children have a sleep-over or slumber party. Alternatively, if this is not possible, plan play dates no matter their age, so they and their friends have some fun time together, too. If you go swimming, or to an activity, ask them to invite a friend to join you.
- Let kids be kids. Let them play outside, ride their bikes, play with their pets, take on more responsibility in the home. Talk about family plans and perhaps plan a short vacation together. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, just some quality time together. Are they old enough for a simple part-time job? Ask friends and family and let them earn a bit of money to contribute toward a camp or interest they really want to pursue. (see #6)
- If your child has a particular interest, let them pursue it during the summer. Just because school ends for a couple of months doesn't mean that their brains need to stagnate. Make the library a regular part of your week. Enroll them in drawing lessons, horseback riding, swimming lessons, drama camp, gardening classes, cooking or baking classes at the local rec center and watch them bloom.
- Keep them learning. Have them keep a reading log, with the name of the books they have read and a short description (or drawn picture, if children are young). Talk about their choices, their favorite characters and parts of the book. If there is a movie associated with the book, enjoy it as a family and talk about how the book is different than the movie. Make learning fun and they will be ready for school to start again in fall.
- Don't let them stay up much later than they do during the school year. Every family has occasions where children are up quite late: family gatherings, special events, etc. But there is no need for children to be wandering the streets, malls or in a restaurant after 10 p.m., especially if they are preteens. Know where your children are and expect them to be accountable. Remember that most towns, even Las Vegas, have curfews for a reason. They are in place to keep your children safe.
- Balance activities with times at home. All children need a home base. Don't structure their days to the point where they climb out of bed in the morning and fall into bed at night, only to start all over the next day. If your children are in daycare during the school year, perhaps there is an alternative means of care that you can find over the summer.
- Give your children an inexpensive camera and let them capture summer on film. Make a collage, make a scrapbook or just share those photos digitally with family and friends. Monitor their computer use and give them restrictions. Summer doesn't mean days spent at the keyboard on questionable sites chatting with people they don't know. It also doesn't mean sitting at a TV screen or playing a handheld game all day and into the night. Be there and beware.