Surviving Summer Fun

Getting ready to take on the summer madness… I mean summer fun? Summertime is a time for fun, family-time, and relaxing. However, summertime can be unstructured and sometimes feel overwhelming to cross everything off of your family’s summer bucket-list. Child Inspired has simple suggestions to help your summer sail smoothly.

Transitioning from the school year to summer or from summer back to school means changes are happening. Sticking with a schedule helps children handle change. In the summertime, its normal for your schedule to change, so how do you build a schedule that is consistent and structured, but still leaves room for excitement, unexpected plans, and FUN? Focus on routine instead! “A regular routine gives your child a sense of security, awareness, and helps him or her develop self-discipline and control.” (Grade Power Learning) Creating a routine instead of a strict schedule also leaves room for flexibility and encourages your child to follow the routine on his or her own.

When should I start my summer routine?

First, keep in mind that their will be an adjustment period. You do not need to have a plan set in stone the first day of summer. Instead, think of what you would like to see happen this summer and give it a few weeks.  After the first week or two, begin your routine. Starting a summer routine in the beginning of summer will help make heading back to school in the fall a little easier too. “A lack of routine can trigger anxiety and stress, resulting in behavioral concerns and challenges when heading back to school.” (Grade Power Learning)

What should the routine look like?

Each family is different! A summer routine that works for one family may not work for yours. It might work for some families to go to the beach three days per week, but for others just getting to the beach a couple times during the summer may be the goal. Do not feel pressured to keep up with the Joneses this summer! Instead, do what is best for your family. With that being said, there are a few things to focus on throughout the day to day of your summer routine. “During the first week or two that you are assessing to see what works and what doesn’t, take note of what you’re naturally leaning towards doing and the changes that you’ve made.” (A Mother Far From Home, Rachel Norman)

The best way to start is to think about your first step and the last step of your day. In the morning, create a breakfast routine. “Encourage your child to wake up and get ready for breakfast at the same time each day. This will help him or her build a regular morning routine that becomes easy to follow.” (Grad Power Learning) For younger children this may look like waking up and eating breakfast by 8:00AM every day, but for teens this may look like waking up by 9:00AM Monday-Friday and sleeping in until 10:00AM on the weekends. Next, think about the end of the day and create a night time routine for your child to go to bed at the same time each night. “Summer is an exciting time of long days and late nights for kids—so winding down at the end of each day is an important ritual to build into your child’s routine.” This could include a bed time snack or journaling at the end of the night. You can also consider including learning opportunities into your child’s morning or night time routine, such as reading for 30 minutes before bed or before going to the pool for the day. “Just a few minutes of learning each day will make a huge difference in keeping your child engaged over the summer (and better prepared when it’s time to head back to school).” (Grade Power Learning)

After, plan weekly routines and include organized activities. “Participating in organized activities gives your child something to look forward to and expect every week.” (Grade Power Learning) Think about the camps, clubs, teams, lessons, and obligations your child will be apart of this summer and choose days of the week to do certain activities. If you know that your child has a long day of lacrosse on Wednesdays, then make a different day “pool day,” so that they are not tired for practice. For example, maybe Mondays are “pool day”, Thursdays are “park day”, and Fridays are “beach day”. This will help set a flow to your week and foster consistency.

How can I include summer fun into a routine?

Consider creating a summer bucket list! This helps get your child’s input in the planing process and gives your family a chance to share goals that they would like to accomplish this summer. “It’s much more likely that your child will stick to the routine if they actively participated in the planning process and has a visual aid to refer to throughout the week.” (Grade Power Learning) Child Inspired has two simple tools, a daily schedule or a weekly schedule, to help create a routine for the summer. Child Inspired’s Visual Schedule is a picture or word schedule (daily or weekly) that includes activities and tasks that are specific to your child. Each visual schedule is laminated including pictures, words, or both (with Velcro on the backs) of activities or upcoming tasks. Each schedule has a Velcro strip for you to rearrange your child’s daily routine as needed! Child Inspired’s visual schedule will allow your child to see what is coming next and what needs to be accomplished first. Visual schedules help provide routine and expectations to foster independence. Child Inspired’s visual schedules are lightweight making it easy to post the schedule in your home or transition with your child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, and most importantly, remember to include days off in your routine to simply enjoy your summer and spend time with your family!


Authored by Lexi Gooch, Family Education Specialist

Child Inspired is an emerging family-centered, pediatric wellness practice in Southern Delaware . We are so proud of the inspiring group of pediatric therapists and educators that are working collaboratively to bring help and healing to children and families with in-home, outpatient therapy services and community outreach initiatives. The Child Inspired team takes their work very seriously, but does make sure to sprinkle in moments of silliness and laughter, as we all need strategies to cope with the various challenges we must navigate.

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