It’s that time of year again! The school year is winding down and, pretty soon, you might begin to hear the typical “I’m Bored” routine. For many children and teenagers, their “go-to” activity is to immediately connect to some sort of electronic device. They might log on to Xbox to resume a video game that they have been playing or access their smart phones to connect to social media outlets, like Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram.
We live in a world where people are often described as “glued” to electronics. Let’s stop and evaluate right now, for example. Here I am typing up my blog on my laptop. There you are reading my blog on whatever device you are using (i.e. computer, iPad, smart phone, etc.). Maybe you have Facebook open in another tab in order to stay updated on what your friends or family members are up to. Maybe you’re taking a break from your latest Netflix “binge” to read my blog–if that’s the case, please know that I appreciate it!… (I absolutely understand how difficult it can be to tear yourself away from a show when the next episode automatically plays). I am in no way advocating for electronics to be banned entirely for the summer; however, I am encouraging you to limit the usage as much as possible!
So, instead of resorting to electronics, let’s talk about some new ideas to keep your family active this summer….
Step 1: Limit your own electronics usage and set a good example. Children see what their parents are doing and will not hesitate to call you out on that!
Step 2: Organize a family calendar in a place where everyone can access it (like your kitchen). It can be a simple template that you print out (examples here!) or a weekly/monthly calendar that you buy.
Step 3: Hold a family meeting. Allow each member (yes, parents too!) to write down a list of electronic-free family activities that he or she would like to see happen during the summer (remind everyone to keep it reasonable, or you may wind up with a list stating “Great Adventure every day”). As a family, discuss everyone’s suggestions and make a plan. All suggestions should be considered!
Step 4: Organize when you will do each activity and list it on your family calendar. It is important to follow-through with whatever activity is set!
Suggestions of Summer Activities
- Go to the beach! Many of our beaches also have jungle gyms for some added fun!
- Look through cookbooks and have each member choose a meal that he or she would like to prepare as a family.
- Check your local library for free classes and activities.
- Go bowling.
- Organize a family game night (board games only!)
- Go fossil hunting. There are brooks and streams in the area where you can bring your family (for free!) to look for shark teeth and other fossils. Find out more here!
- Have a picnic and visit a spray park to cool off! Find out more here!
- Visit and learn about New Jersey’s beautiful lighthouses.
- Create a family fruit or vegetable garden.
- Go berry picking.
- Go miniture golfing
- Go canoeing in the Pine Barrens
Summer is also a great time to focus on your family’s emotional needs since schedules tend to be less hectic. Please contact me for more information!