Monday, June 21, 2010

There is a fine line between, “Hooray, school’s out!!” and “Mom and Dad, we’re bored!” Far too often, the TV, video games, and the computer become the “default” time abuser for our kids! With just a little pre-planning, their summer can become full of good times and memories!

First, parents might want to review a list of chores for your kids to complete before the fun stuff begins. This makes certain the “work” is done before the good times roll! Next, you might encourage everyone to write down 5 things each person in the family would like to do over the summer months. A concrete list helps goals become reality. Ask everyone to be realistic on most of the goals. Examples of this could be: Have a neighborhood sprinkler party; have more than one friend spend the night; or go canoeing. It should be explained that all MAY NOT be achievable for one summer, but at least everyone knows what the goals are. It’ll be nice to know everyone’s goals, and you might be surprised on how the lists overlap, so the family might hit “2 for the price of 1”.

There could be another list created called a “Hope for… “This list might be outside the normal day-to-day achievable goals. Some examples might be to see Mickey Mouse, or to get a new bike. The “Hope for’s” are nice to know, and can be saved for special events like vacations (or whenever possible, e.g. if you hit the lottery; get a raise, etc!) Perhaps the kids could raise their own cash for these during the summer by selling lemonade, pet sitting, yard sales, and yard work. ***Be sure to get the kids a cheap camera to document their summer and capture memories!

Here is my “on-growing” list of things to do: Join 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA’s or YWCA’s. Check in with your local parks department to see what activities they have going. The library has summer programs. There are camps of all types. Take them to the zoo; play flashlight tag; capture (and release!) lightning bugs; go on bike rides*; make an easy list of items to find on a scavenger hunt; there can be lake or beach days. There’s also camping, tennis, basketball, soccer, softball and baseball*, skating, (in-line and regular)*; skateboard parks*; state and national parks; water parks; theme parks; horseback riding*; boating*.

*Remember helmets, life vests, sunscreen and bug repellant! AND REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CHILDREN

Submitted by: Carol Pool, PCAIN Prevention Education Specialist

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