When the sun comes out, all kids want to play. While a family vacation or even a trip to the local pool is all part of summer fun, children also need to maintain quite a bit of structure. Whether your child goes to a daycare or will be returning to school in the fall, staying active in the summer can become an uphill challenge for parents. There are jobs and personal obligations that have to be weighed alongside with spending quality time together with your kids. Have a plan for this summer that involves equal parts learning, laughing, and loving, to keeping your child on the right developmental path.
Involve Your Children in Outdoor Activities
If you have a fenced in backyard, a local park, or even a shady spot on a balcony for your child to stretch out on, it can be easy to spend a lot of time outside. For small children, simply going outside is a learning lesson in exploration. All of the sounds, colors, smells, and movements coming from animals, plants, and passing cars will keep your kid highly stimulated. You can play a game that involves naming shapes, engage in a round of ‘Simon Says,’ or just go for a nice walk outdoors.
Create a Routine that Involves Education
During the summer months, learning can easily take a backseat to physical activities and outings. While there is nothing wrong with leaving the classroom setting behind, don’t forget that young kids need routine in order to help them retain the basics. Active children can benefit from having a story read to them at the start of naptime to help them go to sleep soundly. Giving a child building blocks, teaching them the rules of a sport, or watching an age appropriate documentary are all fun ways to make education paramount. Have your child wake up the same time each day and engage in similar activities during pre-allotted time slots helps to create a steady routine that centers around education all year long.
Get Feedback from Your Little Ones
If your children are old enough to even say a few words you can get vital feedback from them that will aid in tailoring your activities plans. Whenever you do have your child participate in a new activity, lesson, or game, ask them how much fun they had. You might get a toothy smile in reply or an enthusiastic thumbs up. While parents do need to always take initiative, having feedback from your kids is important if you want them to be healthy and content. Older kids might even start to come up with their own activity ideas and feel comfortable making suggestions to their parents if they know that their feedback is valued.
For your children, summer might mean hearing the ice cream truck coming down the street or spending time at the beach. There is a lot of relaxation and recreation associated with warmer weather, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on all the normal things your child does. Let them know that summer can be a blast, but ensure that structure and learning are always involved.