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Find Consistency and Manage Boredom

School is ending and summer is here. Which, for many parents, brings worries and stress about how to fill the time and keep those kiddos occupied for the next 3 months. Sure, there are summer camps and sports practices, but there’s probably still a lot more free time in the summer than during the school year. Summer is a great time to continue to help kids learn lessons they will need throughout their lives. It can be a great way to practice building responsibility and self-regulation skills or to learn ways to manage boredom. Summer is also an important time to keep routines and structure in day-to-day life.

 

Routines

Routines are important for all of us, but especially kids. Routines and structure provide stability for kids and help them know what to expect and when to expect it. Teachers at school provide this structure by writing out the schedule each day and helping kids prepare for transitions. Building routines into those long summer days can help structure each day so kids feel more settled. For younger kids, it might be helpful to use a whiteboard or poster board to write out the schedule for each day. Incorporate things like morning routines and getting ready, chores, reading, outside time, and scheduled activities like camps or practices. Giving kids an outline of the plans for each day can help avoid meltdowns and/or blowups form unexpected transitions. While activities change day-to-day, keeping the same general structure across every day will also help kids feel settled. For example, keeping things like chores, reading, outside time at the same (or close to the same) time each day can help kids feel more settled by the predictability.

 

Chores, Reading, Healthy Habits

As adults, we often can’t do the fun things we like to do until after our work day or until we’ve saved enough to pay for that trip. These are good lessons for kids to learn on smaller scales during summer. Include things like chores, reading, puzzles, showers, and hygiene tasks in the day’s routines. During the school year, many kids don’t get to watch tv or play video games until homework is done. Transfer that thinking to summer- no video games or tv until chores and reading are done and outside time has occurred. Give kids opportunities to build responsibility and accountability in age appropriate ways so they can practice these skills for later in life! Help them focus in on how good it feels to get outside and play or to run around with friends to help reinforce these good, healthy habits! Modeling these habits yourself can go a long way as well.

 

Managing Boredom

Hearing “I’m bored!” Is THE WORST, I know! Even worse is finding the things that stop the boredom! Being bored isn’t always bad. Sure, it’s not fun, but it also may be unavoidable sometimes. Normalizing feeling bored and helping kids learn ways to independently manage their boredom can go a long way for everyone. Helping kids to understand that parents (or friends or siblings) might not always be available to play a game or entertain them is important. It’s also important to help kids build a variety of hobbies and activities that they enjoy and can be used in a variety of settings.  Helping kids to practice independently managing their boredom (without screens!) can go a long way during the summer. At the beginning of summer, create a “boredom bin” with activities that kids can do independently like coloring pages, books legos, puzzles, play-doh, etc. When kids are bored, direct them to the boredom bin to pick an activity. Help kids build their ability to self-occupy by setting a timer for 10-15 minutes for younger kids and 20-40 minutes for older kids. As the summer goes on, add time to those timers as it gets easier and easier for kids to self-occupy when they’re bored.

 

It can feel very hard to keep summer structured and full of activities to keep kids busy and occupied. Getting back to the basics of consistent routine, managing boredom, and teaching basic self-regulation and scheduling skills can set everyone up for success.



Written By,


Alyssa Onan, LPC


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