Joanna Savarese, Ph.D.
Summertime is a great time for families to reconnect. With the hustle and bustle of the school year, carpools, soccer practices, and spelling tests, summer is here at last. Generally speaking, people seem to be a little more relaxed during these sun filled days – the energy in the air is more laid back and people seem to be enjoying the less “structured” lifestyle during this time. With less pressure and stress, this is a great time to spend some extra quality time with your children engaging in meaningful activities that create lasting memories. Being connected to your children creates more security in your relationship. This oftentimes fosters better conversation, more respectful behavior, and a certain level of genuine contentment in both parties involved.
Cook Together – Kids can chop vegetables, set the table, stir the ingredients and be involved in the kitchen. This gives them a sense of responsibility and it’s always great to see a project come to fruition (the finished meal!).
Get Involved in Their Favorite Hobby – Having personal interest in what your kids enjoy has many benefits. Being authentically interested in their hobby validates their interests, connects your relationship, and also builds their self-esteem. Kids need to be seen and heard and this is a great way of supporting that concept.
Play Board Games – Kids love to learn new games and have friendly competitions with their family members. Playing board games or cards can reinforce taking turns, following rules of a game, and understanding consequences.
Make it Educational - Write a “summer kids book” together that details their experience of summer (camp, vacation, favorite memories). Include pictures (or their artwork), narratives, and print and bind it it at your local print shop.
Build a Project from Start to Finish – Each week you can have a “Science Sunday” or “Technology Tuesday” where you work on a project that combines math, science, and building materials. This is a great way to keep up the learning during the summer months and kids can look forward to working on the project each week.
Summer may only come around once a year but it is truly just a state of mind. Make summer last all year long by keeping that fun and relaxed mindset and continue to connect with your kids year round!