June has arrived so summer is officially in full swing. It is a great break for everyone involved in any type of school. But it also requires a big adjustment for both kids and parents who will be trying to figure out how to keep your child busy during the summer.
The purpose of this article is to help make that transition easy and offer some suggestions on how to keep your kids engaged during their summer break. But first, we’ll discuss something that will require some effort, but make a huge difference in your summer — structure.
Why Structure Matters And You Should Stick With It
Not only will a structured day be beneficial for kids who are out of school for the summer, but it helps the parents too. Setting a clear structure and expectations for both parents and children is key because it creates limits and boundaries. This helps children behave and have a good idea of the consequences when they don’t.
What Does This Mean?
It means that even though you might want to, it is important to avoid giving a child second and third chances when they don’t hold up their end of the deal. This teaches the child that if they keep pushing, eventually they will get what they want.
It means that your child will be less likely to feel anxiety when something pops up that disrupts the structured day they are expecting. Having a consistent routine provides a solid foundation that will help them adapt when changes are necessary.
It means that your kids will be more likely to learn how to control their behavior. When the parents are consistent in their response to behavior — good and bad — children learn to recognize that they are the ones making the choice with the way they choose to act.
Structure and consistency sound great. But how do you make it happen? Here are some suggestions to help you get started.
- Same page. For this to work, both parents must be on the same page. That way you’ll both respond in the same way to your child’s behavior. Otherwise, kids will learn to behave differently depending on the parent they are with.
- Start small. Try starting this with a couple of the most important behaviors and so everyone gets a feel for how it is going to work. It may help to kick things off with a family meeting. Make sure everyone is involved in creating the standards you want to go by and the rewards or consequences that come with certain actions.
- Have a routine. Establishing a routine has quite a few benefits such as eliminating power struggles, helps kids develop self-discipline, helps kids maintain a schedule, helps kids learn to do things even when they don’t want to, and helps parents stay consistent.
- Actions speak louder than words. It is one thing to talk about what you are going to do. It is another to follow through and do it. Show the kids you are serious and do what you say.
- Bend some rules. Wait, what? As much as structure and consistency are important, so is the ability to be flexible on occasion. Just be sure to choose those times wisely and explain to the kids why the change is ok/necessary.
Now that we know why this is important for kids during the summer, let’s take a look at some productive ways to help them keep busy.
- Field trips. A field trip can be the highlight of a child’s school year — even a virtual field trip for our online homeschool students. Take advantage of the local museums, art galleries, or zoos in your area.
- Family walks. Take a walk with the family after dinner.
- Let them brainstorm. Have the kids brainstorm as many options as they can think of for the summer. Then let them choose from their own list when they are looking for something to do.
- Use the parks. Chances are you’ve got local parks and recreation departments that have plenty to offer during the summer. Look for summer camps and other events that the whole family can enjoy. Plus, a lot of these events are free!
- Playdates. Who wants to go the whole summer without seeing their friends? Nobody. Let the kids have plenty of play days with friends, cousins, neighbors, etc.
- Gardening. This is a great way to fill a lot of time. It also helps kids to develop some skills. Set aside a spot for the kids, let them choose what to plant, and help them take care of it. You don’t even have to have a big piece of land for this. Plenty of things can be grown in containers.
- Make memories. Try making a summer memory board. Fill it with photos and other keepsakes of the things that you do during the summer.
- Hit the library. This is something you should try to do every week. Challenge kids to see how many books they can read for the summer. Libraries also usually have some fun summer events and activities for kids.
- Movies. There are plenty of educational movies and videos that you can stream on YouTube or some other streaming service.
- Cooking. Do a family cook-off. Make cookies. Plan a weekly menu. This is a great way to spend time as a family.
- Learn a skill. The summer is a perfect time for kids to learn a skill that is different from what they learn in school. It could be something like painting, working on cars, or learning computers.
- Volunteer. Giving back to the community will teach your kids a lot — hard work being the most important. But empathy and compassion are pretty important too. Some places you might look into for volunteer work are an animal shelter, library, or church.
- Get a job. Of course, this applies only to older kids, but a part-time job during the summer is great for kids. This will keep them on a schedule, teach responsibility and the value of earning their own money. Not to mention the fact that they’ll have their own spending money.
We hope that this helps you and your kids have a productive summer that is structured and keeps the kids busy. At Big River Academy, we love helping kids learn and grow during the school year, and believe that it doesn’t have to stop when summer starts. Questions about Big River? Check out our FAQs or contact us to learn more. Feel free to email us or message us on social media. Make sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram and YouTube to keep up with the excitement at Big River Academy.