Every parent dreads hearing their child say “I'm Bored”. Here is a summer program for the kids that I have developed to create a structure in my kids' days and never hear those awful, fingernails-on-a-chalkboard words again!
Hearing the words “I'm Bored” during the summer makes me want to scream! Anyone else with me?
Seriously, when I was a kid, my mom sent me outside to play and practically wouldn't let me come in until dinner time.
There wasn't a lot of TV. We didn't have the internet or devices or gaming systems. They didn't exist, so they weren't an option.
Instead, we played in the sunshine (admittedly, we didn't wear sunscreen ) all day. We played in the dirt. We explored the woods and watched wildlife and built forts.
Honestly, parenting is different for us than it was for our parents when we were kids. Because of the way that a huge variety of devices, apps, and video games are so mainstream, we have to approach entertainment differently than our parents did.
Video games, TV and other types of screen time are easy. And addictive. If your kids are anything like mine, they would do them all day if I let them.
10 Things Your Kids REALLY Want to Do This Summer (But Can't Tell You)
Kids may say that they just want to play video games all day (and they may actually do it if you let them). My boys (8, 10, & 12) would be glued to a screen ALL DAY if I let them.
Have you ever noticed that if you let your kids play video games for too long that they get crabby and difficult to deal with?
Kids need structure. They need to have limits and boundaries and rules.
Their job is to fight those things and test their limits, but our job as parents is to set them and enforce them so we can teach our children healthy habits to last a lifetime.
Here are examples of what I do to create a structure for our long summer days
Have a (general) plan/routine for each day…
I teach group fitness classes at a local gym almost every morning, so the boys know they have to go to the gym with me most mornings.
They have tried fighting it from time to time, but I don't give in. Not only do I need a small break from parenting, but I also need my own workout!
Throughout the summer I also have a few various activities planned for them (these are all during different weeks of the summer):
- art camp (offered by our school's art teacher)
- Lacrosse camp (offered by our local rec center)
- basketball camp (offered by our high school)
- STEM camp (offered by our local library – just ONE of their FREE summer activity options!)
- swim lessons for my youngest
- I purchased a swim pass for our family that allows us unlimited use of the outdoor pools in our area
Have a List of Chores That the Boys do to Help the Family
- Feeding/watering the dog
- Picking up dog poop
- Sweeping the floors
- Mopping the floors
- Vacuuming the floors
- Washing windows
- Clearing the dinner table
- Walking the dog
- Mowing the yard
- Taking out the trash
When they were smaller, we still did jobs…they were just more age appropriate. Things like:
- Emptying small trash cans into the big trash can
- Making their beds
- Cleaning their rooms
- Clean up the yard (so I could mow it)
- Putting toys away
Preventing the “Summer Slide”
Get the Summer Activity Packet for Kids
Exercise Does a Body Good
When in Doubt, Go Hiking (or for a walk)
Get Fresh Air and Sunshine (and activity)
Give Your Time To Help Others
Provide some screentime alternatives that the kids will love
Learning to Prioritize: Do the Required Things First; Then Have Fun
A Dose of Reality
- Most of those activities are already fun and they are having fun doing them
- It takes a lot longer to do them (and eats up their free time) when they complain and argue
Give In? I Don't Think So!
Keeping kids busy during the summer keeps the entire family happy (and off screens – or at least limited screen time)! Use these ideas as summer activities to create your own summer program for your kids!