Picking Summer Activities for Your Child
Selecting summer activities for children, can be a daunting task for parents. It can be hard to know how to pick a program that is the right fit for your child. Here are some things to consider when planning your child’s summer.
Ask Your Child
It is really important that your child have a say in summer plans. For example, your child might love to play soccer all school year but want to try a new sport in the summer. Or your child might not want to do a formal sport at all in the summer. Summer is a great time to try new things or keep going in current interest areas. Your child works hard all year in school, letting her have a say in what she does during the summer will be validating and help ensure that she gets more out of her summer.
Look For Opportunities For Skill Growth
For example, if your child is struggling with social skills or shyness, maybe a small camp focused on an activity of interest, like robotics or sewing, might help your child make like-minded friends.
There are many hidden opportunities for meaningful summer activities. Families often put together a great summer for their children using family and resources available. For example, helping a grandparent with a project might be interesting for your child while helping him develop skills and increasing sense of family.
Many communities offer summer volunteering experiences for students in middle school and high school. Volunteering is a great way for kids to learn job skills such as showing up on time and dressing appropriately as well as empathy.
Things to Consider
Day or Overnight Camp
Allow your child to determine if he wants to go to a sleep away camp or isn’t ready yet. Try not to push going away, even if it is for specific camp such as a great soccer training camp. If your child really isn’t ready and doesn’t have a good time, it can make your child more reluctant to go away again in the future.
Your Child’s Needs
There are a broad area of needs to consider when looking at how your child will spend his or her summer. Does your child prefer small groups to large groups? Learning something new to just having fun with other kids? Does your child need to work on an academic skill over the summer or just keep her brain engaged to prevent the summer slide? Does your child have any health or safety concerns that need to be considered?
It can be hard to know what to look for regarding safety for summer programs. The American Camp Association has a list of safety questions to ask a potential camp here.
Families need time together to have adventures and grow together. When you are planning for your child’s summer, think about what your goals are for family time. Do you want to take a family vacation? Will you have family visiting from out of town over the summer? Does your work slowdown in the summer providing more time to spend with your children?
It can be a little overwhelming to think ahead to summer plans, especially when there is snow on the ground still. However, putting in some time and energy now will help ensure that you and your child have fun this summer.
Author: Jennifer LuriaJennifer Luria is a highly skilled child and adolescent psychotherapist. Ms. Luria holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Iowa. She was employed by the Center for Disabilities and Development at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for 8 years, and recently has joined the staff at Hope Springs. Ms. Luria has a very warm and compassionate style, which she balances with the ability to effectively set goals and bring about results with her patients. She is also certified in Parent Child Interaction Therapy, as well as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Certified Therapist). She is currently accepting new patients.
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