Nothing says summer like, “Mom, I’m bored!” As the novelty of summer wears off in the weeks ahead, I hope to share some fun ideas to help you be prepared to provide a fun and meaningful Three Boys Holding Sports Ballssummer full of various activities. Educators suggest that, as much as possible, parents let summer be a time for children to play hard, be creative and explore. Parents can provide a setting for children to play and express themselves, while still making sure that their children are safe. If your children are at home during the summer, consider the following:

• Encourage physical activity. Children enjoy swimming, biking, basketball, skateboarding and other activities.

• Provide a few basic resources — a variety of books, art supplies, writing materials and a few games.

• Avoid turning on the TV or computer games, or limit the time spent in these activities. Let your child develop her or his own creative thinking.

• Help your child get outdoors, even in your own back yard. Plant a garden or nurture a flower box or houseplant.

• Go to the library. The Salina Public Library has an amazing youth and adult summer reading program. Be sure to check it out and get involved!

Summer activities don’t have to be costly or extravagant to cure the summer doldrums!

While summer is a time for fun, it is recommended that children maintain the routines they are familiar with. It’s actually helpful to keep the same routines during the summer months. For example, maintaining the same sleeping/bedtime routine helps children in many ways:

• Predictable schedules help kids feel safe and secure.

• Routines help children know their needs are being met and will be met in the future.

• Routines help children develop self-control and self-esteem.

• Summer routines reduce anxiety, stress and acting out behaviors.

The most important thing is to enjoy the summer with your children. Better yet, enjoy each and every day you have with them. In no time at all, they will be grown up and you will find yourself missing these special days spent together.

Have a great summer!

Lisa Newman

Lisa Newman, Family Development Agent, K-State Research and Extension Central Kansas District, can be reached at 309-5850 or by email at [email protected].