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Finding Your Summer Rhythm

Amber Brandt  |  May 17, 2016
Transitions can be hard — and moving gracefully from the school year to summer break is no exception. Adjusting to new schedules, pressures, dynamics or obligations can sometimes clash with a litany of mixed emotions, causing frustration and stress. But there are several things you can do to help your family find a new summer rhythm where every member has a place and can enjoy the time. 

Routine is healthy. (If you choose only one item from this list — choose this one! Routine is so important.) Your child is accustomed to a structured classroom where they know what to expect each day, and also what is expected of them. Mimic this daily routine by creating a schedule and sticking to it. Each night before bed or first thing in the morning, take a few minutes to tell your child what you’ll be doing that day. Or perhaps sit down together to create a “summer routine list” that you can all be happy with. A quick Google search can also provide tons of great ideas. Some parents also choose to assign a certain theme to each day (library day, laundry day, picnic day, craft day)— and repeat it each week.

Focus on engagement. As we talked about earlier this month, slipping into autopilot can be a real temptation during the summer — so make extra effort to create experiences and dialogue that’s valuable. Allow your children to have screen time or quiet time on their own — but be intentional about carving out spaces where you intentionally interact together. Remember, entertainment and engagement are two very different things — but when it comes to time spent interacting with your child — quality always trumps quantity. The same is true about helping your child maintain a healthy social circle outside of the home. Make it a priority to get in contact with the parents of your child’s friends and set up opportunities for summer play.

Keep learning active. While summer is synonymous with fun and relaxation — it can also be a great time to incorporate learning into the activities you’re doing each day. Plan play dates that happen at the library, incorporate science and math into the mundane and create fun craft projects. Unfortunately, regression is a real risk, so keeping your child’s mind plugged in through practical learning each day can help to make the transition out of school (and then back into it, this fall) even easier.

Consider your priorities. What does your ideal summer look like? Daydream a little about what you really want to experience with your kids over the next couple of months — then consider what it will take to make it happen. Experience tells us that every time we say “yes” to something, we’re saying “no” to something else. It’s okay to be a little choosy about how you spend your time. Make sure you’re saying “yes” to your greatest priorities.