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Top 4 Tips for Summer Survival

School’s out for summer!  As much as we enjoy having our kids home more and the possibilities for more bonding time, vacation, less stress, sometimes the change in routine and structure can cause a little more chaos.  Siblings are together more often than they are during the school year, which leads to a chance for increased sibling rivalry. Here are my top 4 tips for keeping your sanity, minimizing the chaos, and enjoying summer break with your kids:

“Abundant time in nature is a critical wellspring of human health, with a deep and formative influence on children in particular. Nature’s impacts extend far beyond physical fitness, encompassing intellectual and emotional health, self-identity, and basic values and morals. Health benefits of exposure to nature include enhanced healing, stress reduction, creativity, and self-esteem.”  - Scott D. Sampon, How to Raise a Wild Child

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  1. Get outside! I have noticed with my own children that the more time we spend outside each day, they are more engaged they in their play for longer periods of time, they seem more at ease, and are constantly using their imagination.  I have especially noticed that my prefers playing with dirt, rocks, sticks, and climbing over playing with any single toy.

  2. Keep a routine as much as possible, but be flexible when needed.  Children thrive off of routines and feel more secure with knowing what to expect.  I’m sure we’ve all noticed that children also have more difficulty adjusting to lack of sleep than adults do, and if a young child misses a nap, you can plan on more meltdowns, whining, and power struggles.  Make sure that you keep meal and snack times as consistent as possible to avoid the “wrath of low blood sugar,” as one of my friends so perfectly put it. With that said, there are times that you may want to stray from your schedule to enjoy certain summer fun with your family.  Just make sure to plan ahead to bring extra snacks or whatever they may need to take a nap on the go.

  3. Make a summer bucket list!  This is something our family has done for the past couple of years.  I sit down with my daughter (and when my son is old enough we will include him, too!) and ask her what fun things she would like to  do as a family over the summer, and we also pick a few dates for just the two of us! I set the expectations ahead of time and let her know what types of things we can include and what types of things we can’t (i.e. no Disneyland...I might be a party pooper but there’s no way I’m going to fight the crowds there in the heat of summer, and no meeting Justin Bieber).  She comes up with everything from the beach, the harbor, library, movies in the park, indoor playground, hiking, swimming, horse back riding, and frog hunting. This goes for working moms can plan your fun activities for evenings and weekends!

  4. Set expectations and rules together.  Most kids are used to and can remember the rules and expectations at school.  Once they’re home for summer, it can be so helpful to set the rules and expectations TOGETHER.  Go over the rules about bedtime/curfew, chores, screen time, etc. When you’re going somewhere new, talk to them about appropriate behavior in the new setting.  By including them in this conversation ahead of time, and having them help to come up with the ideas and rules, it creates a sense of buy in, power, and accountability, and can help save you from a power struggle or argument down the road.

    I would love to hear from you!  Let me know what other tips you have for summer  survival!




Matt Hendon