Outside is starting to open up in many places. People are so excited to be out in the fresh air while being able to mix and mingle again. As you plan your events for day parties, festivals and trips; remember the kids. Our youth have also suffered tremendously during our unprecedented times. We have never witnessed firsthand the effects of a pandemic and how it correlates to our educational system, mental health and general well-being. Our kids were suddenly forced into virtual learning environments that left them confused, anxious and overwhelmed. As a parent, I felt that same level of confusion too.
This summer will “hit different” as the kids say! This summer we not only need to enjoy the sunshine but also prepare for a long academic year ahead. Here are some quick tips to consider as you get your house in order:
Avoid the pandemic slide: Usually this is called the summer slide. It’s a time in which kids may regress in learning due to lacking their normal academic routine. This summer is different because you not only want to keep an eye out for summer regression but you want to ease your child back into in-person learning routines. For me, I decided to enroll my child into an academic summer camp for the month of July. She’ll be in-person to re-establish social skills and she will work on academic readiness.
Lessen the screen time: I know! You’re busy working and the electronics keep them quiet. Well in the long run it isn’t good for them. Consider having an hour a day of no devices. This could possibly be around lunchtime and it will allow for family time. Or consider having all devices off 2 hours before bedtime. It will help with their sleep pattern and allow them to have a more peaceful rest before going to bed.
Incorporate reading: Yes, it’s summer but reading should still occur. Whether you allot time to drop everything and read; read at bedtime; give book report assignments for the week or more; reading is still fundamental. Turn it into a teachable moment by selecting books about social justice, racism or family traditions. This will serve as a vital act in their academic preparation. For the younger ones, you can even incorporate “I Spy” games to make them aware of letters, letter sounds and sight words throughout the home and community.
Get away: No one is saying to have lavish vacations or exhausting road trips but some sort of fun is always a must. Consider staycations at your local hotel, trips to the local beach, cookouts or more to simply get away from home for a while. Kids get restless as adults do. Enjoy family time within your household constraints of transportation and finances.
Create new activities: Attend those outdoor family festivals, make crafts at home or attend live shows. Many outdoor festivals are free and it’s a great opportunity to re-introduce your kids to socialization. It’s also fun for the entire family.
The key is to enjoy yourself while making lasting memories for your children. They have experienced just as much hurt, loss and change as the adults in their lives. It’s our responsibility to show them love, support and care this summer and everyday of their lives.
Writer, C. Scott, is a mompreneur, literacy advocate, social worker and more. Connect with her on Instagram and Clubhouse as @curls_coils.
(Photo: Nappy Co @alyssasieb)