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Maximizing Family Fun & Health This Summer: A Guide for Parents

Teen Summer

We all love summer. The warm sunshine. The lazy afternoons by the pool. For parents, however, summer means no structure and pondering how to keep your kids happy, healthy, and active without the daily routines of school. In the absence of classes, it can be easy for teens to gravitate towards spending time indoors and on the screen. However, with a little planning, you can create a summer filled with enriching and enjoyable activities for the whole family. Here are some tips and ideas to make this summer memorable and healthy for everyone.

Avoiding Screen Time

Research shows that too much screen time can negatively affect your child's physical and mental health. Setting clear limits on daily screen use is a great first step. Encourage other forms of entertainment and engagement by providing alternatives that are just as enticing. Set up a schedule that includes a variety of activities like reading, outdoor play, board games, and crafts. Keep their attention away from the screen with something fun and engaging to do instead. 

Tips for Things to Do Together

Summer is the perfect opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your kids through shared activities. Here are a few ideas:

  • Family Game Nights: Board games and card games not only promote critical thinking and social skills but they are the perfect vehicle for family bonding, creating memories, and lots of laughs.
  • Cooking Together: You’re never too old or young to start learning the basics of cooking. Involve your kids in meal preparation. Walk them through the process of cooking. It’ll teach them valuable life skills and give you a chance to talk and connect. 
  • Outdoor Adventures: It’s hard to beat the great outdoors. Whether you are hiking, biking, or simply walking in the park, nature is a fantastic backdrop for conversation, connection, and some physical activity. 

Keep Your Child Engaged

You’ve got to tap into their interests and introduce them to new ones if you want to keep your kids engaged. Encourage them to try different activities to discover what they enjoy. 

  1. Local Tourist Sites: How much do you really know about the area in which you live? Get outside and explore nearby museums, zoos, and historical sites. Educational, informative, and fun - these outings can spark new interests, cultivate a sense of community pride, and provide an opportunity for new adventures. 

  2. Road Trips: You don’t need to drive thousands of miles for a good road trip. Plan a short trip to a nearby town or natural attraction. Take the day and hit the road. Pack a lunch and go have some fun together. 


Happy & Healthy

Maintaining your child's physical and mental health is critical to their overall well-being. Here’s how to do that in the summer months: 

  • Balanced Diet: It’s summertime and your kid wants to just veg out on the couch and eat junk food. This might be okay in small doses but it’s important to ensure your children are eating a variety of healthy foods and not just consuming empty calories. Involve them in grocery shopping, meal prep, and talk about nutrition. Learn what they like and dislike, and help them to make healthy decisions about their diet. 
  • Regular Exercise: Some of our best memories from childhood are the days spent running around the neighborhood with the other kids on the block during the summer. There is so much to do that every kid should be spending at least part of each day outdoors. Playing a pick-up game, going to the local pool, or just running around in the yard. Encourage at least an hour of physical activity daily. 
  • Adequate Sleep: Just because you’re not waking up to get to school on time doesn’t mean sleep routines should go by the wayside. Adequate sleep is essential for overall health and maintaining a consistent bedtime routine will help with that. Sleep hygiene is real! Start building healthy sleep habits early.

Maintaining Structure Without School

Speaking of routines, even though school is out, maintaining structure can help your child feel secure and productive. If you don’t create a schedule, they will create one for themselves and it probably won’t be ideal. Set times for chores, reading, physical activities, eating, and relaxation. It doesn’t have to be meticulously planned or rigorously adhered to but should allocate the day into manageable bites. 

Activity Ideas

  1. Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteering is a great way to teach responsibility, selflessness, and empathy while giving back to the community. Look for local opportunities like community clean-ups, helping at food banks, or animal shelters. 
  2. Health & Wellness Camps: If your child plays sports or is looking to start, finding a local camp that focuses on specific skills or overall physical fitness and wellness can make a huge difference. These camps also provide a structured environment where children can make friends and connect with their peers. 
  3. Art Classes & Pottery: Creativity is important to cultivate. Encourage it by enrolling your child in art classes. These activities are great for self-expression and can be very therapeutic.
  4. Mechanics & Hands-On Projects: Maybe your child is more interested in math, science, or how things work. Find classes or workshops on basic mechanics, woodworking, or even robotics.

Summer Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful

With thoughtful planning, this summer can be an enriching and enjoyable time for you and your family. By limiting screen time, engaging in shared activities, and maintaining a healthy routine, you can ensure your child stays happy, healthy, and ready to take on the next school year. Embrace this time to create lasting memories and foster a closer family connection.

Wishing you a summer full of fun, growth, and health!