4 easy ways to have a successful summer with your kids

4 easy ways to have a successful summer with your kids

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NORTH OGDEN — Summer can be somewhat contradictory for parents and kids.

On one hand, kids are thrilled that the school year is over and they can have some time to themselves. As a parent, though, you may have very mixed feelings about summer.

In the summer, you don’t have to wake children up and get them to school — which is a relief — but you may hear a lot of exhaustive arguing about whose turn it is to play on the video game system or frequent statements of being bored. You may even get into a few battles over getting chores finished.

In short, summer can be tough on mothers and fathers. How do you get through those long three months before the children go back to school? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Keep a loose structure

Summer is a good time for kids to get a little practice in managing their own routine. This does not mean that you should abandon the basics, though.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children thrive on having a schedule and knowing what to expect. Perhaps a good middle ground for this would be to keep a bedtime, have a few chores for them to complete and an activity or two throughout the week. This way there are expectations of them, but they still get some say in how to spend their free time.

2. Encourage creativity and play

It is grating to hear “Mom, I’m bored,” about 59 times a day during the summer. The times have changed since kids were sent outside to play for the evening. Instead, children are engaging with screens from younger and younger ages. This is not to say it is a negative thing, but rather that the ability to play creatively has changed.

Encourage your child’s ability to engage in creative play by supplying art and craft materials, dress-up clothes, blocks or any items that need some work in making them exciting. Your son or daughter may also benefit from having some obligatory time away from phones, tablets and other screens, when possible, to inspire play further.

3. Offer some choices

Some children may find it overwhelming to be sent outside, or they simply have a lack of direction. This may be for a variety of reasons, from inexperience to feelings of anxiety.

In order to coach your child through this potential difficulty, you may find it helpful to validate those feelings and offer some choices. For example, you may want to offer your son the choice of either playing in the swimming pool in the backyard or completing a project, like building a bird house.

Be careful not to offer too many choices at once: This is just as overwhelming as having no idea how to play freely. Offering two to three opportunities to do something may be just enough for your daughter.

4. Look into activities

Activities can include anything from swimming lessons to a day camp or play group, or more. Activities are positive because they may allow your child to learn something new, which builds a sense of self-esteem.

Additionally, activities are powerful because they have a social component to them. Boys and girls will benefit from engaging with kids their age and being active in something they can connect with and build a friendship on. These social skills will prove helpful when it is time to return to school and kids need to make friends in a new class.

Keep an eye out for free and low-cost activities as well, which tend to pop up over the summer frequently.


Summer does not have to be daunting for parents. It’s hard to imagine summer without swimming pools, ice cream and kids out of school; and parents do not need to have the additional frustration and irritableness that can come with these images as well. By allowing children to have their freedom and ability to play, you can continue to implement some of the structure that helps keep your routine and schedule stable during the school year.

About the Author: Kelci Beus \----------------------------

Kelci Beus holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Weber State University. She also has a master’s degree in community counseling from Washington State University. Kelci works at Tree of Life Counseling Center in North Ogden, Utah.

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