Survive the Summer AND Still Like Your Kids

Tips for Keeping Your Cool with Your Kids This Summer

Limit Tech Time

Are your kids bouncing off the walls? Summer “boredom” may not be the culprit. Experts are now pointing fingers at tablets, computers, and phones. According to Psychology Today, even moderate exposure to electronic media can overwhelm a child’s nervous system, causing disruption to their brain chemistry, blood flow, hormone balance, and stress levels, sending the brain to “high-alert” status.

Elaine Hill, a counselor with the Employee Assistance Program at Intermountain Healthcare, recommends assessing each of your children’s needs with regards to tech time. Age and ability to manage tech time will be different from one child to the next, so while your teenager might be able to cope with playing on their technology for an hour or more, two to three times a week, a younger child will do better with shorter times allowed on technology. Elaine also encourages parents to teach the responsibility of monitoring tech time to the child by giving him or her a timer, and then rewarding them for turning off the device when their time is up.

Increase Family Time

So, what can you do to fill in the time that your kids aren’t on the tablet? Take advantage of the summer days and evenings to spend time together as a family. This doesn’t have to be a pricey, planned out activity. It can be something as simple as family walks, bike rides, or playing catch at the park. This will not only burn off some energy for the kids, but can increase your connection as a family. “Exercising releases endorphins – making you happier,” says Kris Lundeberg, licensed clinical social worker at Sanpete Valley Hospital. “And exercising and spending quality time with your family can improve relationships and create lasting memories.”

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Make a Schedule

Your kids had a structured schedule during the school year, and it shouldn’t end when school does. Make a to-do list for your kids and post it in several places around the house. Then, ensure that they understand they’re expected to complete the list each day. Maybe it starts with making their bed, eating breakfast, getting dressed, and cleaning their room. Then continues with going outside to ride their bike for a half hour before lunch. Be sure to “schedule” time to play. If your kids go to a daycare, ask the babysitter to honor the schedule you have set for your kids while they are away from home.

Establish a Sleep Routine

The misconception is that because the sun is out until 9 p.m., kids can stay up later in the summer. But when the “littles” are lacking in the sleep department, the parents are usually the ones who pay. Children can stay up later, as long as they are able to sleep in. It’s recommended kids ages 5-12 years old receive 10-11 hours of sleep, and teens get nine hours of sleep each night. Be sure to keep TVs and other devices out of the bedroom, and keep bedtime as stress free as possible to ensure better rest for your kids.