Structure your summer

Your Child and Teen
Structure your summer

Summer break is a much anticipated time for children. They are so excited to have a break: no waking up early, no school work or tests!

Some children struggle during the school year due to academic issues or problems with peers. These kids tend to be happier during the summer months since it’s nice to have a break from all those rules and schedules.

However, at least some structure during the summer months can be beneficial for children and their parents. Children thrive in a structured, consistent environment -- they always know what to expect.

Here are a few ways to keep some structure in your summer months.

  • First thing is to plan ahead. Plot out a daily routine.
  • Sleep and wake routine should stay consistent. Even though it's summer, staying up all night and waking up late afternoon goes against your child's internal clock. This is a bad habit to get into and it will become difficult to monitor your child's behavior if he is primarily awake during your sleeping time.
  • Children need sleep. Children 1-3 years old need 12-14 hours of sleep, 3-6 years old need 10-12 hours, 7-12 years old need 10-11 hours, and 12-18 years old need 8-9 hours a night.
  • Minimizing electronic time to approximately two hours a day will help keep their schedules diverse and allow time for activities, exercise and learning.
  • Schedule learning time. This can include 30-60 minutes a day of reading a book, flash cards or math facts. This will keep their brains sharp and you should see less regression in learning when they return the next school year.
  • Include activities. These can be organized sports, trips to the park and playground, swimming, play dates.
  • Local recreation centers and parks typically offer activities for children of all ages both during the summer and school year.
  • Getting a season pass to your local city pool can offer hours of entertainment and exercise for the whole family.
  • Summer camps can be a great way to include activity and structure in a summer break.
  • Local libraries offer all kinds of groups and classes during the summer -- reading clubs, story time, craft projects.
  • Don’t forget the arts! Check out local museums and community theater.

Keeping a structured, consistent schedule will help create a summer filled with great lifetime memories for you and your family.