Summer can be a difficult time for families especially when parents are working and the children are left on their own. This can be a time to create fond memories and experience exciting adventures. However, if you and your children are not prepared to fill the days with meaningful activities, summer vacation can become a nightmare.
If you are working parents with older children that will be left alone for extended periods of time, it is extremely important that you make some definite plans and not just allow your child to do whatever they please. Most children will sleep late, watch TV, play on their computer and hang out with friends. This is not healthy and they will spend the summer bored or getting into some kind of trouble.
Make sure you have a plan of action that includes fun activities for your children and also for the family. Working parents need to make sure that they still take the time to do family activities together so their children will feel loved and valued. Time is an important commodity in a child’s life and when parents spend time with their children they are sending out the message that they are important and this will help them build strong esteem.
Plan some (age-appropriate) activities that your children can do on their own and also some family activities and then sit down with your children and go over your ideas. Ask them if they have any suggestions and let them get actively involved in making any plans and helping with preparations. Here are some ideas:
- plan a family picnic or bbq
- go to a park or petting zoo
- go to a swimming pool or beach
- check out activities at the local library and make a weekly visit to pick up some books or videos for your child to read and look at during the week
- check with local organizations and churches for organized group activities and summer camps. Many have free programs or ones with minimal cost.
- enroll your child in a summer sports activity
- plan a family camping trip or do a backyard campout and invite some of your children’s friends to come
- on a rainy day, do some cooking or baking or play some board games
- plan some arts and crafts – prepare kits for your child to work on some fun projects
- clean out the basement or garage as a family – play music, dance and have some fun
- watch some great family movies, eat popcorn and laugh a lot!
- find out about a summer volunteer job – this is a healthy way to keep your child busy and help them build esteem
I hope you and your family have a great summer vacation!!