This summer is different from every other summer we have experienced before. For parents, this can lead to lots of stress, confusion, and fear. The good news is we can use this summer to help set our children up for success come the fall. We can show our children that just because the future is unknown does not mean it has to be scary. The calmer we are about the future, the more relaxed our children will be.
This spring ended up being very unconventional for most of our children. Our children took classes online and did not get to see friends like they usually would. This is continuing this summer with most traditional summer camps being canceled or running in different formats. This summer, there are many ways to make sure our children are getting the educational and social experiences they need. Or maybe it’s activities such as play-based learning where our children can grow through play. It could be drawing our children’s attention to their neighborhoods and who and what they see on walks. How about formally signing up for virtual summer camps and learning programs. These options will make this summer feel more typical, which will help our children transition in the fall.
This spring, many of us were working from home and able to watch our kids when they were home from school. Now that more of us are transitioning back to in-person work, we have to consider who can safely watch over our kids. For some, this is family or friends, but for others, this means we have to look for other child care. If looking for child care, you might want to explore a site such as TOOTRiS.com to find amazing childcare near your home or where you work. Using childcare this summer can help our children get the socialization that they need to be able to adapt to whatever learning environment they find themselves in this fall. Using childcare can also help you raise children who are adaptable and able to self regulate themselves.
If you’re able to continue to work from home, there are ways to incorporate learning into your children’s day to day schedules in a fun and engaging way. If you are at home, you have the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with your children about how they are handling everything that is happening right now in the news. As a parent, you also have the opportunity to teach valuable lessons, such as money management, teamwork, and health education. The more time you can spend with your children right now, the more your children will feel comfortable expressing what they are feeling both now and in the future. Excellent communication skills will be helpful in the fall.
If you are still working from home, you may find that your stress levels have increased and that your children can pick up on this stress. The hopeful thing is creating a plan that incorporates strategies for navigating summer in a healthy and less stressful way is possible. Start with structure so that children know when they can do different activities and when they need to find quiet projects to work on. Next, find cool things to do each day, such as watching a film or reading a book out loud. Finally, plan some bigger projects like going outside to a local greenspace that can be put on the calendar.
This summer may not look like summers before, but that does not mean we can’t use this summer to set our children up for a great fall. You might feel overwhelmed, but take a deep breath and know you will do great and your children are going to thrive.