by Carolyn | Jul 1, 2015
1. Give your children household chores. Chores given at an early age helps children build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance. It also teaches them how to be empathetic and responsive to others’ needs. Richard Rende, a developmental psychologist says “Parents today want their kids spending time on things that can bring them success. But ironically, we’ve stopped doing one thing that’s actually been a proven predictor of success—and that’s household chores.” Chores, when done in the spirit of cooperation strengthens family cohesion.
2. Create a schedule. Children feel more secure when they know what to expect from day to day. Similar to a teacher, in order for the day to run smoothly, teachers have a daily lesson plan. At home the structure may be – children get up at a reasonable time, help in preparing breakfast, cleaning up the living areas, then playing outdoors. Reading, indoor activity and lunch followed by quiet time / nap time. Also, make time to play and structure time to chill and relax.
3. Help your children develop a healthy relationship with time. Manage down-time creatively. Children have a variety of activities at their disposal. When not active or being entertained with a gadget, help them learn to manage quiet time. Encourage them to read, try new things, and stretch their imagination.
Spend time outdoors. Riding bikes, playing ball, climbing and gardening are excellent ways for children to get their sun exposure (Vitamin D). Richard Louv, author of the book “Last Child in the Woods” says “outdoor experience isn’t just something nice for kids to have, they have to have it. Neuroscientists tap interaction with the natural world as a primary player in children’s sensory development. Ditto for physical development, as running around outside is critical in refining children’s large and small motor skills and achieving full brain activation.”
4. Plan meals together. Before heading off to college a child needs to have skills to take care of him or herself. Meal planning, purchasing as well as making meals together is a great bonding experience where everyone can enjoy the finished project. Remember to teach them how to make a special dessert!
5. Set aside some time every day to have fun. Whether it’s running through the sprinklers together on a hot afternoon or counting the stars on a blanket in the backyard before bedtime, do at least one thing a day to connect and have fun. Remember, what matters is always how it FEELS, not how it LOOKS. Your child doesn’t need an activity to keep their interest; just a loving connection with you.
6. Make a photo board. The last week of the summer, print out all your summer photos and make a photo board. Have a little family celebration on Labor Day weekend where you talk about everybody’s favorite parts of the summer. Remind each other of the things that seemed like disasters at the time but are now funny (every family has some of those!). If you do this every summer, you’ll create precious family memories.