Dr. Ducharme’s Blog June 10, 2019 Summertime Safety and Fun

June 10, 2019
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Summer vacation is here. While the kids are shouting with joy, parents may find themselves trying not to shout. Having the kids home all day for 8 weeks can be a challenge. It is really important to remember that kids still do best when they have some structure. So, while flexibility is important and bed times and getting up in the morning may be later, it is helpful if routine naps and time for quiet or reading are scheduled. For parents who continue to work outside the home, daycare and or camp may be the primary options. But with school out, increased daycare hours can be expensive.

A tempting option is to leave middle and high school students home alone during the day. This is rarely a good idea and should always be a last option.  If this is the only choice you have, consider stopping home in the middle of the day or having a neighbor pop in unexpectedly to check on the kids. Assign chores that must be completed.

Help develop responsibility by encouraging teens to:

         start a dog walking service

         begin a lawn mowing business

         be a mother’s helper

         babysit

 

For parents home all day with their kids, the biggest complaint they hear is “I’m bored”. Today’s children really are not used to providing their own activities. And frankly, while there are tons of things to do and places to go, many are too expensive to do on a regular basis. Here are some really fun and inexpensive activities to help you all enjoy the summer.   

Invest in swimming lessons.  The recent drowning of  country singer Granger Smith and his wife’s 3 year old son is a strong reminder that this is probably one of the most important gifts you can give your children. 350 children under age 5 drown in swimming pools every year. Another 2600 are treated in emergency rooms each year for near drowning incidents. Some of these result in permanent brain damage.  And please…if you are at a party with your young kids or any non-swimmer and there is a lake or pool, keep your eyes on them at all times!

Try for at least one hour of physical activity for each hour of computer or TV time.

Check out your local YMCA. They have great activities for the whole family.   

Spend the day at a park, lake or beach. Pack a lunch and bring plenty of snacks, drinks and sunscreen. Look for places that have bathrooms.     

Go bike riding. Look up local bike trails geared for families.    

Plant a vegetable or flower garden together.      

Find a brook and bring a strainer and plastic containers. Kids can spend hours catching tadpoles and other water creatures. Don’t forget to apply bug spray if you are in the woods.

Write a play together, assign everyone parts and perform it for friends and family.

Go to the library. Not only can you get great books and check out movies, most libraries have free passes to many of Connecticut’s parks and museums.    

Go to a museum.

Take out the hoses, squirt guns and bubble makers and let everyone get good and wet. The kids particularly enjoy getting mom or dad soaked!

Let the kids wash your car. Sure you can teach the kids the “how to’s” of car washing. But it is amazing how you can relax with some ice tea while the kids are soaping up the car, each other and probably you!

Set up math challenges and problem solving situations to keep the kids learning even when not in school.

Do chores together. Let the kids take turns choosing the music to play while you work. It is amazing how many things can be accomplished as you sing and dance around the house.     

          

The bottom line is, relax, have fun, be physical and be flexible. And don’t forget to schedule naps and quiet time, for all of you.