Summer is thought of as a time for fun in the sun and relaxing but without structure and consistency summer can be a very trying time for any family. It is important to take into account that children thrive with a schedule and consistency and the spontaneity of summer can overwhelm even the most grounded child. There are several very simple ways to help promote a wonderful family summer.
- At the beginning of each week, the family should gather for a family meeting (see blog on ways to conduct a family meeting) and review the plans for the week. Knowing the activities planned in advance calms anxiety and gives a time for input and feelings regarding the schedule for the week.
- Write the weekly activities on a calendar that is available for everyone to view in the family. Each family member can help to write up the schedule providing a sense of ownership and participation in the family activities. Young children can draw pictures on the calendar or trace words to ensure they are included as well.
- Activities for the week can be as simple as displaying the hours of parents’ work schedule and the child’s day camp programs, designating a daily learning time (such as reading for 15 minutes or coloring) and knowing when dinner will be, what is planned for meals and when bedtimes are to as complex as family outings and when vacations are planned.
- Meet each day with the family and conduct a family meeting. This is the time to review what is planned for the next day as well as discussing how the current day was for everyone (again see blog on family meeting for more detailed outlines on family meeting).
By organizing each day and sharing the schedule with all family members, it provides the opportunity for family’s to come to together and discuss plans, anxieties are reduced due to less “unknown events “, and a family can build a stronger bond through active communication throughout the summer.
May your summer be filled with fun, sun and structure!!