How many days will it take for you to first hear “I’m bored” from your kids this summer?
Finding the balance between commitments and boredom is a tricky thing each summer depending on the age of your kids. Much needed rest after a busy school year is needed by both parents and kids, but many kids find it hard to occupy themselves after a few days. Some parents want to avoid this and sign their kids up for too many commitments during the summer, exhausting both the kids and the chauffeurs. Here’s a few tips to help your family find summer balance for kids.
Pick a few commitments wisely. Nothing wrong with a summer camp or two. Consider researching a few your child might like and letting them pick one or two, not every week of summer. Same goes for recreational classes. Ask your kids to prioritize their top few interests and go from there. If budgets are limited, consider hosting a camp week swap with other families. You plan one fun theme day at your house complete with lunch and activities, then another families hosts the next day and so on. Easy and inexpensive themes are water day, water color day, popcorn day, Olympics day, sports day, etc. Involve your kids in the planning!
Plan family vacations together. Let your kids help plan the family vacation, choosing activities, rest stops, and travel games. Have them research the area you are going to and come up with some fun facts and local activities. Get some books from the library for the little ones to look through. Books on the location, car games, or family fun.
Keep regular bedtimes and chores. Having routine provides comfort and consistency. Even if the summer bedtime is later, send the kids off to bed at a set time. Teaching kids to schedule and value rest is a life skill. So is reading books and doing chores. Take weekly trips to the library to let kids choose book and set a goal of 20 minutes of reading per day. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised that they read longer as the summer goes on. Five to ten minutes of chores a day helps keep the house running smoothly. Let the kids help pick their chores or draw chores out of a chore jar.
Brainstorm a list of activities to do at home. Sometimes boredom seems to cloud the memory. Kids forget about the game shelf, the book shelf, and the bikes. Have a brainstorming session at the start of the summer or holiday season to come up with a list of fun activities at your house. Post the list on the fridge or make an activity jar. Some families rotate toys or activities to keep the playroom simple. Another fun way to brainstorm is to try to name something to do for every letter of the alphabet (write a letter to grandma, examine a bug, yoyo, and stuffed animal zoo).
Whatever you do, try to encourage your kids to come up with simple ways to manage their own boredom. Don’t over program them. Engage them in brainstorming ways to entertain themselves. Model what downtime looks like and make sure to take breaks yourself. Think about thrifty ways to have fun this summer
Need another idea? Check out this blog post on digital escape rooms!
Table Talk: What was your favorite free summer activity as a child? How often do you go to the public library?