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Keeping it structured for a Successful Summer

Keeping it structured for a Successful Summer

While summer break is an exciting time for kids, many parents dread it and worry about how they can keep their kids busy, entertained, happy and away from the addictive devices that surround them.

Kids see summer time for leisure and fun, which tends to end up unstructured, boring and with screen time wars. Having no school should not mean your kids shouldn’t have a schedule. Creating structure for your kids during summer vacation will help balance the down time with responsibility.

When developing your summer schedule it’s helpful to schedule in a unit of time for household responsibilities, reading and work time, and exercise/activity. Check out some ideas below.

Household Responsibilities
Instead of assigning tasks, ask your child what they would like to do to contribute to the house and family. When they get to put forth their ideas and effort they are more likely to stick to it. Be creative, maybe they can help out with watering plants and/ or be a department lead in charge of making sure a specified area of the house is clean and tidy. Working together and being creative can help those household responsibilities more approachable while teaching kids the value and importance of work.

Reading/Work Time
Every year teacher reminds parents and students to practice math facts and keep reading. It is not uncommon for children to regress in their academics from the end of one year to the start of another. Scheduling in time to do this during weekdays not only helps maintain what kids have learned in school but helps keep them in the routine so transitioning back to school will be less of a struggle.

Exercise/Activity
Home can be a comfortable place to be on the relaxed days of summer. While home relaxation time is needed, it has a tendency to turn into bored days of eating and screen time. Intentionally work in exercise and activity into the daily schedule to keep the guess work out of what to do next. Contact local programs such as the Recreation Center, library, extension office, museum, and art centers (such as AVA) for upcoming programs and volunteer opportunities. Parks and city swimming pools are always a win to get in some exercise and socializing. Remember to keep the screen time down to no more than two hours per day.

The long unstructured days of summer can be confusing, chaotic and boring. Developing a schedule that has a mix of unstructured leisure time and planned activities will help keep our kiddos on track behaviorally and emotionally and ready to take on the responsibilities of school next fall.

Karissa Morris is a Provisional Professional Counselor (PPC) in the Campbell County Medical Group Kid Clinic. The Kid Clinic is a school-based pediatric clinic in Gillette, Wyoming. The medical clinic serves children ages 2 weeks to 18 years old; and counseling services for children 4 years old to 21 years old. It is located at 800 Butler Spaeth Rd., across from St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Gillette, Wyoming. The Kid Clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8 am-5 pm. For more information, call 307-688-8700 or visit www.cchwyo.org/services/pediatrics/kid-clinic/. The Kid Clinic is a collaborative effort between Campbell County Health and Campbell County School District.