Summer is the time where I like to press the reset button, take a deep breath and enjoy time with my little ones. And this year, it’s more important than ever that we try to relax and enjoy our time together. On the other hand, I also try not to be so laid back that they lose track of any sort of structure. So I keep my kids on an easy to maintain summer schedule.
Of course, I do try to keep an open and fun schedule that will enable them to enjoy the summer and also get enough rest, eat well, stay active and prepare them for the next grade level. Here are some of the things I will be sticking to this summer with my mini tribe.
Third graders who can’t read at their grade level are four times less likely to graduate by age 18 versus a proficient third-grade reader.
Whether swimming, hiking, surfing, walking or running, I always encourage my kids to get outside and move. Have your kids staying active is the goal. We like to work out together in the backyard, whether it’s a little yoga, touch football or just playing a game together.
Or if you prefer to retreat further into nature, take advantage of nearby trails for a morning or afternoon hike. If you’re located in San Diego, a few of our go-tos are Torrey Pines, Cowles Mountain and Mission Trails, but be sure to check their new regulations to make sure they’re open and it’s safe to go. For additional tips on what you could do to get moving, check out former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program.
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Your body requires hydration and when you are in the heat it requires even more. The trick is to hydrate before, during and after your kid’s activities. I found some great tips on staying cool from the CDC.
One thing you want to do as a parent is to have your kids stay away from caffeinated beverages. They only dehydrate your child. Fill up a canteen with some spring water, which is the best hydration for your kids and get going! The kids love seltzer water and sometimes we jazz it up with some fruit and cucumber slices! When we want fruit juice we make our own raw juice—beet juice is a favorite (especially if I add in a few apples to sweeten it up!)—and make sure to keep it healthy.
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Trust me I know it’s hard not to give in to the kids when it comes to snacks, but I can promise you I recognize that I am in charge and 100 percent of the time you can count on me packing a bag of healthy snacks for my kids.
Some things I always pack are grapes, sliced apples, bananas, crackers and kid protein bars. It’s also great to have the kids join in and help you prep their healthy snacks. Plus, they get to play in the kitchen and learn what’s good for them!
The CDC recommends that children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.
Keeping Structure With a Bedtime
I can’t begin to tell you how many of my friends are exhausted because summer arrives and they immediately throw their bedtime routines out the window. For us, that’s not happening. I know my kids truly thrive with a structured bedtime routine. And we parents thrive with a little downtime at night.
I never really understood how people let their little ones stay up till midnight during the summer. We are sticklers with this one routine and it works for our family. Bedtime is usually around 8 p.m. during school days (including homeschool days!) and in the summer at the most we let it stretch to 8:30—8:45 p.m.
I have had numerous friends ask me how I do it. I simply tell them I am in charge, not my kids. We set the rules, we set the structure, and if we let them be in charge they would be up all night eating a sugar-infused diet.
For school-age kids, research has shown that adding as little as 27 minutes of extra sleep per night makes it easier for them to manage their moods and impulses so they can focus better.
I think this one is something we all need to follow. As parents, we need to have our littles reading all summer long. So we check out books online together and let them choose books they want to read.
When I was a school teacher in New York City, I could remember having to re-teach material forgotten over the summer. I also noted that kids that read four or more books over the summer months had better test scores when it came to reading comprehension.
Of course, I also want my kids to enjoy reading and not complain when they do it. So I’m always on the hunt to find awesome, fun books that really pique their interest.
Overall, we are looking forward to our lazy summers, but a little structure doesn’t mean it won’t be a blast. I would love to hear from you! Are you trying to get them to bed at a normal time or are you throwing the towel in…. let me know!
Studies show 9 out of 10 teachers have to re-teach material when kids return to school in the fall in order to get students caught up. Teachers spend anywhere from 4-6 weeks re-teaching material students forgot due to summer slide.