KEEP KIDS OCCUPIED DURING SUMMER BREAK
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY with Jim Daly and Dr. Juli Slattery
Q: As much as I love having my kids home for the summer, I also dread it. I feel like I’m constantly trying to juggle work and what the kids need. It’s chaos most of the time. How can I actually enjoy having them home?
Juli: As a working mom with three boys, I understand your dilemma. I love having the kids home from school, but I also face the constant challenge of how to channel their tremendous energy in constructive ways. Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years:
— Everyone does better with a schedule. Part of the fun of the summer is not having schedules dictate life, but a free-for-all leads to chaos. Implement a loose schedule to keep the summer manageable. This should include the times that everyone wakes up and goes to bed, time to get chores done and even “quiet time” for everyone to rest.
— Keep your kids busy doing productive things. Every child, even at 3 years old, should have chores. Be ready to reply to the complaint “I’m bored” with a list of jobs to complete, crafts to do, books to read or other options that your children can tackle on their own. And, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with them being bored once in a while.
— Make sure you have time just to focus on your kids this summer. Compartmentalize your work to certain hours or days of the week, so you can have free time to do fun things like play with squirt guns, go to the zoo and camp in the backyard.
— Put off things that can wait until the kids go back to school. Having lunch with a friend, volunteering at church and painting your bedroom can all wait. The summer flies by, and it is a critical time to connect with your kids. You will never regret making that your first priority.
(Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family, host of the Focus on the Family radio program, and a husband and father of two. Dr. Juli Slattery is a licensed psychologist, co-host of Focus on the Family, author of several books, and a wife and mother of three.)
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