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Summer Time and the Living is Easy!! By: Dr. Lisa Hewitt

Heeyyy, it’s summer!! The time that parents and children look forward to SO much during the busy months of the school year. Bring on the pool time and the vacations and lots and lots of SUN!

But, as any of you other parents out there know, summer has its “pros” and “cons”. Like the fact that about 5 minutes after the sugar high wears off from that last end-of-summer party, your kids start up a chorus of “MooooOOOMMMM!! DaaaaDD!!! We're BORED!!!!” 

So, how can you make the most of these precious summer days without losing your sanity? Here are a few thoughts and ideas:

**First of all, let's remind ourselves and encourage us that our kids NEED boredom. Do they like it? Absolutely not. But just like eating their veggies, being bored creates essential thinking spaces and opportunities for kids to learn to self-regulate and to be creative. There is true danger in OVERscheduling our kids or too much screen time, so definitely don’t feel like you have to give your kids something to do every minute! Our summer goal should be to strike a balance between activity and rest.

  • If you have little ones, transitioning out of the napping stage is challenging (and a little heartbreaking!). I found it helpful for my preschoolers to have some quiet time each afternoon, for about 30-45 minutes. They were allowed to have books, but had to stay in bed. This routine gave me a much-needed break from parenting, and it helped them slow down enough to take a nap on the days they needed it.

  • If you have school-age kids, consider having a daily “to-do list” for them to complete. This doesn’t need to be a long list, but even having things like “get dressed” and “read for 15 minutes” helps make sure the day doesn’t feel completely lazy.

  • Have you ever heard of “summer slide”? Loss of academic skills over the summer is a real thing, and it can make the start of school even more daunting. Consider building in some light academic work to keep those brains active. Don’t worry about being too ambitious–think about some math flash cards or reading with a grown-up every evening, or maybe spending a few minutes a day learning a new language on Duolingo. One summer, my children enjoyed completing a joke book which helped them practice their handwriting.

  • Screens are a great way to relax in moderation, but nobody wants their kids’ summer to be completely dominated by YouTube or video games. In our house, we strike a balance by having a to-do list for the morning and keeping screen time for the after lunch. The actual tasks on the list have changed over the years, but we have benefited from getting things done in the morning and saving our downtime for the hot summer afternoons. If your kiddo is not on board with having screen time boundaries, consider using electronic helpers, like Apple screen time or a wifi router that lets you set time limits for certain users.

  • If you have older children, they may be able to help with some extra chores. (They are going to LOVE this idea…!!!) For real though–kids benefit from feeling useful and essential, just like adults do. For example, consider having your teenager plan and cook one family meal a week. (This is easier than ever with meal kits and curbside shopping apps!) They will learn useful skills and get to cook the mac & cheese they’re always begging you for, and it gives you a chance to appreciate them as a contributing member of the household. Not to mention that sitting down for a family meal continues to be one of the best routine ways for family members to connect and spend time together. We offer parenting consultations that focus on the use of positive parenting and effective behavior management skills, improving communication with your children and teens, and strengthening your relationships. If you would like to learn more about our parenting consultations or to set up an initial appointment with one of our psychologists, please contact us at or (512-222-8339).

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