If you start the season with good intentions, (chores! Books! Fresh air!) only to find kids camped out in front of you tube, read this wise advise.
Every June I have the best intentions: I’m going to keep kids on a schedule. They are going to do more chores, and read more books. We are going to take a family bike ride or walk. We’ll be closer then ever.
And… By the time the 4th of July rolls around, things have usually slid out of control. The are sleeping in way past breakfast, lounging in front of the TV and texting the day away. It usually starts with a soft hearted moment on my part. – (they need a break – after the busy school year – I’ll let them sleep in today) But it quickly turns into a pattern. And since I’m still busy – work – laundry – etc.- I side step my guilt and let them veg.
It’s a common problem. By the middle school years, kids are too old to play board games, or go to summer school all day, but not old enough to drive or have a real summer job. Though children may beg for “free time” Its not in the best interest to let them achieve total “slackerdom” Tweens and teens often believe they’d just love to have weeks of “doing nothing” says Annie Fox, M ED, author of the Middle School Confidential series. But the reality rarely matches the day dream. Kids get bored and, like puppies, bored kids often get into stuff they shouldn’t! They also fall behind academically (more on the latter) And to be honest, we parents often have unrealistic “Norman Rockwell” – like notions about bonding with our children: we put an awful lot of pressure on ourselves and out kids to get closer then we were during the school year. Michale J Bradly, ED D says “parents who approach summer with too many plans for bonding usually wind up feeling like they’re in a Chevy Chase movie, where everything goes wrong. But there are realistic ways to sneak some structure, learning, and yes – family time into the summer with out feeling like a drill sergeant. Hear are the smart strategies.
Get on the same page:
Good intentions often fizzle out because kids have one set of summer goals, (making it to the next level of a video game) and parents have another goal for them (tackling a summer reading list) Many struggles can be avoided if parents and kids sit down before school get s out to discuss or brain storm acceptable ideas. Ask questions like what was the best day/week from ast summer, and the worst.
STEP UP THE CHORES
Having jobs around the house sets expectations and gives a sense of accomplishment. “Summer is ideal for learning responsibility”, because tweens and teens simply have more time. Of course not many kids volunteer to do chores, and sometimes we parents fall into the “it’s easier if I do it myself” trap.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, give kids a choice so they can feel a sense of ownership. Also give kids a choice about when they accomplish the chore. Imagine if someone told you to “take out the trash! NOW!” You may need to give a time frame though.
TIP Avoid chain gang chores – like moving a rock pile from one place to another – they never feel done. Anything that can be finished in an hour is perfect.
LAYER IN SOME LEARNING
Kids can fall behind if they slack in the summer. You don’t have to hire a tutor, but you can promote learning with these ideas.
- Let kids pick their own books
- Create a summer book club.
- Use technology to your advantage.
ALSO, CONSIDER THESE IDEAS FOR TOGETHER TIME.
- Take it outside – games, picnics, walks, ect.
- Force the issue, because teens will resisit.
- Go sight seeing.
LET BED TIME SLIDE A LITTLE
During the summer consider a slightly latter bed time. Just as long as they are awake before 9:30am. Or you will throw of their natural body clock.
MAKE PEACE WITH ELECTRONICS
Set screen time limits. Break up the day so its impossible to be glued to the TV or phones all day. And to help with that, her is a list of 10 things you can do.
10 things to do with your teen outside
- get active. Teens tend to have alot of energy to get out, so out there and get active with them!
- Movie marathon
- hike, camp, and/or rock climb
- go to an amusement park
- community service
- take a road trip
- photo hunts
- play games
- let them decide
Now you know all the ins and outs of having a great summer with your teens and tweens. Best of luck to you all!