For her latest Get Psyched Friday blog, psychologist Eleanor Mackey provides tips on keeping kids active and in a routine throughout summer.
Summer time is a lovely, relaxed time of year when kids enjoy getting out of the usual grind. However, as tempting as it is to have a fully carefree summer, this is not all good for children. It is important to set up some routines and structure in order to maintain happiness as well as good eating, physical activity, and sleep to keep them healthy.
Some ideas for setting up summer routines:
Try to keep bedtime and wakeup somewhat consistent even if it is later than during the school year. Don’t let your child stay up all night and sleep all day!
Schedule fun activities during the day to get your child out of the house:
- Swim at the pool
- Check out museums or the zoo (we are so lucky that they are free in Washington, DC!)
- Go to the park
- Run errands
- Arrange play dates with friends
- Go to the library
It helps to set up a daily schedule and follow it.
- 9 a.m. – Wake up
- 9:30 a.m. – Eat breakfast
- 10 a.m. – Get out of the house for an activity/errands
- 12 p.m. – Make lunch
- 12:30-2:30 p.m. – Read, make crafts, play time
- 2:30-4:30 p.m. – Go to the park, pool, playtime – physical activity time
- 4:30-6:30 p.m. – Help with dinner
- 6:30 p.m. – Eat dinner
- 6:30-9:30 p.m. – Family time
- 9:30 p.m. – Bedtime
Make sure the routine includes healthful eating and minimal dining out or snacks. When kids are home all day, they are tempted to eat a lot more, scheduling meals and snacks can help with this. This rule should hold even when on vacation.
Take the opportunity to fit in plenty of physical activity. Kids sit a lot during the school year, so over the summer they should get up and move!
Have a list of fun activities posted on the house so that when kids declare, “I’m bored!” you can direct them to the list to pick an activity.