As parents of school-age children, summer brings mixed emotions for those who have to work. Although school coming to a close can bring a feeling of relief to busy parents, there is a new concern that brings to mind the question of- now what? Summer camps, grandma’s house, Aunt Liz’s or hang out with the neighbor’s kids…. Knowing where our children are at all times has to be a priority. Keeping our children busy and active during the summer months is important to their well-being. God has blessed us with longer days, and we can use those extra hours of sunshine to create memories for our families during the summer months. But what can we do after 5:00 and we are tired from working all day? This is a challenge many working parents face during the summer months. Even if children are at camp or at a babysitter’s home all day, we need to spend quality time with our children.
Another challenge for parents… How do we get our children outside to play? How do we get that teenager away from his/her XBOX or PS3 game system? Many teens are staying inside during the summer months, missing out on all the sunshine and exercise. This is contributing to childhood obesity and depression. Sunshine is not only good for our physical health, but it is essential for our mental well-being also. Get them interested in the outdoor activities at a young age and they will have life long habits that will take them outdoors. Finding ways to encourage our children to participate in outdoor activities can be a challenge.
Here are some ideas to use:
· Invite their friends over for a cook-out
· Take them shopping at an outdoors flea-market for items that interest them
· Pool time is always fun with friends
· Money- pay them to wash your car, water the flowers, etc.
· Get them interested in the outdoor activities at a young age
· Bicycle riding
· Skateboard parks
· Sports activities
· Have a scavenger hunt
· Music concerts
· Outside movie in the park
· Visit a local park
· Go out for ice-cream
· Bird watching
The summer should be a time for families to build closer relationships. Planning the activities ahead of time is a must. Even for moms who are employed during the summer months can find plenty of time to keep their children busy outdoors. The sun sets hours after most people come home from work. Plan those hours wisely. You will not regret the time invested in your children’s summer fun!