Top tips on surviving the summer for parents and kids

Summertime seems like an incredible time for kids and parents alike – a time for fun, the great outdoors, vacations, travel and a whole host of activities we don’t get time for during the rest of the year.

However, this year will likely turn out a little bit differently, as some of the activities we have been counting on to help us make up a memorable summer are no longer possible.

Here are our top tips for surviving the summer with the kids at home nevertheless:

Encourage independence

No matter how structured their days are during the school year, summertime is a great time to encourage some independence (especially in your slightly older kids). This doesn’t mean leaving them home alone to fend for themselves – rather encouraging playtime where they do what they want to do, on their own terms.

Some sort of structure will need to be provided by you of course. Don’t let them spend an entire day watching TV, but do let them watch a bit more than usual. Suggest games, activity books, physically active games: whatever they are interested in and can do on their own.

Have family time every day

Another daily activity you should try to schedule in is family time, when the entire household comes together. This can be in the mornings or evening, or even in the middle of the day, depending on your schedule.

You can do anything from play board games, do some arts and crafts, build forts, camp out in the garden, bake, play tag – anything that comes to mind, as long as all of you are participating in some way.

Add more chores to their plate

Chores are never something kids will gladly want to do – if you present them as chores. Now that they have plenty of free time, why not make pottering around the house and getting things done a fun activity they get to do during the summer.

You can start by going through their closets and decluttering all the items they have outgrown or don’t want to wear anymore (with them in charge, and you just the observer). You can do the same for toys and books, and donate or gift what you agree you don’t need.

You can do little daily competitions with tidying, doing the dishes, making meals, dusting, and so on – time yourselves, try to do things backwards or with your non-dominant hand, play counting games while you work – there are plenty of ways to make chores more fun.

Do some schoolwork too

Kids can lose about a school months’ worth of knowledge during the summer, which is known as the summer slide. In order to prevent it, try to schedule in some learning every day of the week. It can be as little as 30 minutes or an hour a day, but it will help your kids retain knowledge and acquire new information and skills.

The core skills to focus on are math and reading/writing – you can find some cool math workbooks online that can help keep this activity fun. You can then establish a summer journal, where you child can record their emotions, thoughts and activities, or write about a topic you assign them. As for their summer reading, make sure they get to read something they want to, and not something that has been assigned them.

Have activities in reserve

While you will certainly engage in some activities every day, or at least often, you should also have a list and stash of activities prepared for all the times when your kids exclaim they are bored (which is bound to happen sooner or later). Check Kensington Mums summer guide and scoop filled for the most amazing children activities to keep them busy and entertained.

Here are some suggestions, but do some research of your own and come up with additional pastimes, check out more fun things to do at home:

  • Build a fort out of cardboard and paint it
  • Indoor ice skating – on your polished floors in socks you can throw away afterwards
  • Silent disco party – you will need some wireless headphones for the activity
  • Egg and spoon race around the house – be prepared to clean up broken eggs
  • Soap bubble blowing contest
  • Create a family comic book
  • Compile a family photo album
  • Grow some herbs in the kitchen or garden
  • Make ice pops out of fresh fruit
  • Bake mug cakes
  • Make a map of your house/garden/neighborhood/city

Stay connected

If you are unable to see friends and family as much as you would normally like to, make sure you still get to spend some time with them.

You can of course do virtual playtime, virtual meals, virtual cooking time, virtual story time. If it’s safe, you can meet in the garden or somewhere outside and spend some time together face to face.

Make sure you have an agenda for all of these meetups – whether it is playing a bit of a socially distanced game, doing some coloring or drawing, or just exchanging news and talking about your day, don’t just let the time run away from you.

Have each member of your circle teach the kids something in the best way they can – a recipe, a story, a poem, a song. This will keep the kids both entertained, and give you something to work with them on later.

To sum it up

This might be a summer like no other, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get to have a whole lot of fun with the kids while they are off school. Try to look at the current situation as a way to embrace different activities and spend some time together, look at the bright side of things, and all should be well.

Article written by Julia who is a mum of two girls and two dogs, an entrepreneur and an expert librarian who can always find a book her kids will love to read next. She has always been a writer at heart and has finally found a way to let her creative side show – you can read some of her work on Medium.