Thoughts of summer vacation can bring up many different emotions. We imagine vacations, sun, swimming and leisure time. What we might not see is the anxiety the summer holidays can bring to both parents and children.
As individuals, we thrive on routine. During the school year, we wake up knowing what is in store for us. Our children feel secure. When summer vacation hits, that routine is turned upside down. Many of us stay up later, socialize and travel more.
Some families are unable to take time off from work, putting children in summer camp or into the care of family and friends. This can cause a lot of stress for parents and children, who must readapt.
I recently had a discussion with my elementary-school students about summer vacation. They expressed worries about fitting in and making new friends at summer camp and not seeing their friends on a daily basis. Some said they were nervous about spending time with a parent who they do not get along with — it’s useful to remember that we didn’t always get along with our parents, either.
Here are some ways to ease the transition into summer vacation:
Create a summer routine. Talk to your child about their expectations. Ask them what they would like to do over the summer holidays. Now, I know what you’re thinking … a vacation in the Maldives might not be an attainable goal. Encourage them to think smaller — this conversation is a great start.
Enjoy a cooking night. Cooking is a great way to bond with children. Not only will you have fun trying new recipes, but cooking is very educational. It challenges children to be creative, calculate quantities and work with different units of measurement.
Keep a journal. There are many journals made specifically for parents and children, with prompts that help generate thoughtfulness and good conversation. From a teacher’s perspective, this is also great writing practice.
Have a board game night. This is an extremely underrated activity. Not only is it a fun way to spend an evening, it also teaches our kids such skills as communication, collaboration and the ability to appreciate both a win and a loss in a constructive way.
Get out in nature. Set a time to go for a walk, take a hike or have a bike ride. Touch the grass. Follow the butterflies if you need to! Leave your technology at home and enjoy the outdoors.
Plan an art activity. Throw some paint on a canvas, make tie-dye shirts, colour or draw. Sidewalk chalk is great for drawing outdoors. Art is a fun way to bond with your children and a fantastic outlet to manage stress and express emotions.
We have to remember that children often have simple needs. Though it may seem like all they want to do is sit in front of a screen, it’s important to find a balance. You might be surprised with the results. Have fun, take a breath, relax, and involve your kids. They are capable of much more than you think.
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Who is Bianca Ferrara?
I am so excited to introduce myself! I’m Bianca, I’m 30 years old and I have been working with children for 14 years. I started in child care at the age of 16, working in both public and private Quebec daycares. I completed my Bachelors of Education and have been teaching at elementary schools ever since. Due to a lack of permanent jobs and a long seniority list, I move around a lot.
It is an incredible learning experience to teach different grades at different schools. I have worked with children of various ages and academic levels. I have worked with children who have special needs and collaborated with professionals to develop educational plans. I am excited to share my knowledge with you and I look forward to hearing your questions, opinions and suggestions.
There is no cookie-cutter way to raise a child, but we can work together to share our expertise.
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