Begin Now to Structure Your Child’s Summer

School’s out for the summer. But what do you do to fill all of your child’s free time over the next three months? Memorial Health System joined “Ask the Expert” to discuss ways to keep your kiddos entertained and structure their schedules over the summer.

  1. Include the kids when making your schedule – Create your weekly schedule on the weekends with input from the family. Ask what the kids would like to do that week; don’t put all the planning on yourself. Ask any older children what they want to do with their siblings during the day, especially if they are the babysitter for the day.
  2. Use free resources – Go to the library and other free resources available in your community. Use the events and classes available at your library to fill a weekday or find activities at your local community center or park.
  3. Parks and outdoor time – Schedule outdoor activities, such as going to the park or riding bikes, as a portion of the day. Make sure your children know what to expect and when.
  4. Stay hydrated! – During their school day, your child is used to eating snacks and lunch at a certain time and drinking water after activities. Keep overeating and dehydration from happening by setting the schedule ahead of time for your little one to know when to expect snacks and lunch. Bring water with you when spending time outdoors and make it a priority throughout the day.
  5. Switch up snacks over the summer – Take your children to a farmers market or along with you when you go to the grocery store. This helps show them healthy snack options and new ways to snack. Make a snack basket in your fridge or pantry for easy-to-find snacks that are available throughout the day. Include your kids when picking out snacks so they feel included when it comes time to select the healthier snack option.
  6. Keep some school work in your week – Don’t let school work slide during the summer. You can get work sheets online, at your local bookstore or at the library to make sure your student is using the skills they learned the previous year.
  7. Keep your student’s normal schedule – Keep your normal school year bedtimes. It will help maintain your student’s sleep schedule and allow them to wake up at a normal time the following day. While some days may have extended bedtimes, try to start the next day around your normal wake-up time.
  8. Don’t let weather stop you – If your day is disrupted by unforeseen weather, find some indoor activities, like going to the gym or being active indoors. Find games online to play inside, board games or even a scavenger hunt to find things around the house.
  9. Start getting back into your school routine early – If you didn’t heed the advice in #7, don’t wait until the day before school starts to readjust bedtimes. If your child is moving to a new school, up to the next grade level or into a new building, reach out to the school beforehand to see if you can get a tour. Your student will know where their classes are and feel less overwhelmed their first few days.

Listen to the entire podcast here.

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