Written by: Noemi Flores, MSW, SWC
Summer is officially less than a month away. The anticipation of longer days, warmer weather, sun bathed skin, and neverending popsicles is almost over. While school age kiddos are excited for a much needed break where they can recharge and unwind, parents are exploring options to engage, entertain, and create memories all in one.
For many, summer may come with added obstacles such as daycare, increased grocery bills, and hectic schedules. It is important to remember that you are doing enough and you are trying your best. As parents, it is imperative to take care of yourself in order to be the best version of yourself for your child. Remember, being a model parent doesn’t mean you have to manage every second of your child’s free time; this can be exhausting. Allow for your children’s curiosity to soar and for them to manage their own downtime. We have all heard the words “I am bored”, over and over and it’s okay. When children are allowed to explore and entertain themselves, they start learning to become independent.
While time for unstructured play is important, it is also important not to allow kids to fall into the habit of becoming sedentary. Children benefit immensely from movement. Research supports movement as it helps improve overall mood, contributes to emotional regulation, and has life long benefits. If time allows, find ways to incorporate movement throughout the day, this can include walks, bike rides, gardening, hiking, or even dancing in the rain.
Lastly, consider taking advantage of the free activities summer has to offer. You don’t always have to spend big bucks to create lifelong memories with your children. Here are some ideas of free summer activities:
- Picnics in the park
- Visits to your local library
- Arrange a scavenger hunt
- Schedule a pool day or let children run through the sprinklers
- Go fishing