Sunday, June 01, 2008

June Newsletter Article........Getting Ready for Summer Vacation: 4 Survival Tips for Parents of School-Age Children

Summer vacation is almost here. In a couple short weeks, most schools will be releasing students for a three month break. Are you ready? Here are four tips to help the parents who will be home with them.

Finalize Your Summer Schedule
Are there activities, camps, or lessons that need to be finalized? Get those tasks taken care of as soon as possible. For the future, it's a good idea to give yourself a two month window to start early planning. Put a reminder in your tickler file, a dated accordion file (1-31 and January-December) that keeps your reminders, now for the next March-April time frame.

What about any upcoming vacations? Do dates, plans, and reservations need to be finalized? Will you need to make child care arrangements during the summer break? Get the planning that can be done now, done.

Summer Supplies Checked and Stocked
Get those items together that you will need for the next few months. Check over gear and equipment that you might be utilizing before you will be using it. Here are some items you might need to think about:
  • Have an adequate amount of sun block
  • Don't forget the bug spray
  • First aid kit replenished-Swimming and beach toys and gear gathered
  • Summer-friendly snacks on-hand
  • Coolers cleaned out
  • Camping equipment checked
  • Traveling games and activities ready for long car rides
Take Time for Yourself
Taking a little time for yourself will allow you to give more to your children and family. This means doing something just for you that you enjoy. You may give yourself the time to read a good book, work on a favorite hobby, exercise, or have a cup of coffee with friends. You could make a date with your spouse, join a Bible study group, get a massage, or spend some quiet time alone. If we want to be the best we can be in our roles as parents, co-workers, spouses, friends, and members of the community, we must remember to also take time for ourselves.

Don't Over-Schedule your Summer and Family
Allow for an adequate amount of free time this summer and be flexible. It's not your job to entertain your children every minute of every day. Empower them to think of possibilities and to be creative. Richard Carlson Ph.D, states in his book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff with Your Family, "Children who have too many opportunities, choices, scheduled activities, and things to do are often the ones who are the most susceptible to boredom." He adds, "You'll be doing your kids a tremendous favor by teaching them that there's nothing wrong with not having something to do every minute of every day."

Your schedule should reflect your family's priorities and values; it should help make your days more enjoyable and less stressful. Take time to sit down with your children to communicate to them the routines, rules and expectations of your summer household. Find that balance that is just right for your family this summer and through out the year.

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