26 May 5 Tips for an Easier Transition to Summer for Parents
by Kara Ferreira
Summer break seems like it should be a good time, but for many parents, it comes with some additional stress. This can be acutely felt by working parents, parents of kids who do better with a lot of structure and routine and, of course, by the kids themselves!
To help with the summer transition, we’ve rounded up 5 tips to ease into summer so that you and your family can enjoy it!
Set a routine. In the absence of the structured school day, create a new routine for you and your kids. If your kids thrive on the regular school schedule, try to mimic it as best you can with set activity times, meal times and play times. Otherwise you can make up a new routine that works best for your summer schedule. So long as the kids know what to expect as the basic flow of each day, you should minimize uncertainty and outbursts.
Make meals easy. Stock up on recipes that are easy to make. Make a few freezer meals ahead of time so you have some fallback options. When it comes to snacks, choose and pre-prepare healthy options ahead of each week. Occupational therapist and blogger at restandrelish.com suggests creating a snack bin for each child with their name on it. You can place one in the fridge and one on the counter or in the cabinet – and that way each child has a go-to when they get hungry.
Make it fun. Ask your kids what activities they would like to do over the summer and then create a summer bucket list. Have all family members in the house (parents too!) contribute ideas. Then plan out which weeks you’ll partake in each adventure or activity so the kids know when to look forward to everything on the list.
Be flexible. Summer, by nature, usually does have a bit less structure. So create your routine (and do try to stick to it) and be ready to do things spontaneously on occasion. Some kids may see some regression when it comes to progress with certain behaviors or skills, and that’s OK. Be flexible with your routine, yourself and your kids.
Get help when you need it. Hire a babysitter even if it’s just for a few hours each week. If that’s not a financial option, then schedule some time to co-watch the kids with another parent friend. This gives the kids a chance to play together and you a chance to connect with another adult. Trade off with your co-parent to find time for each of you to have yourselves. Carving out time for you to take a break will help you recharge and be more present when you are with family later on.
Transitions – even ones that happen every year – are always tricky. If you find that you need additional support, we’re here to help! If you’d like to explore working with a therapist, contact us at (734) 323-4897 or email@example.com for more information. Our practice, based in Novi, Michigan, is home to a team of psychologists with a wide range of expertise. We also offer teletherapy and can see anyone in the state of Michigan.
Kara is a G3 Contributing Writer.
Child Mind Institute, Strategies for a Successful Summer Break
Great Schools, Tips for Shifting Into Summer Break Mode
Rest & Relish, 10 Tips to Tackle the Summer Transition with Kids