Summer time is a lovely, relaxed time of year when kids enjoy getting out of the usual grind. However, as tempting as it is to have a fully carefree summer, this is not great for children. It is important to set up some routines and structure in order to maintain happiness as well as good eating, physical activity and sleep to keep them healthy. Here are some tips for setting up summer routines.

  1. Try to keep bedtime and wakeup somewhat consistent even if it is later than during the school year. Don’t let your child stay up all night and sleep all day!
  2. Schedule fun activities during the day to get your child out of the house:
  • Swim at the pool
  • Check out museums or the zoo
  • Go to the park
  • Run errands
  • Arrange play dates with friends
  • Go to the library
  1. Set up a daily schedule and follow it.

Sample Schedule:

  • 9 a.m. – Wake up
  • 9:30 a.m. – Eat breakfast
  • 10 a.m. – Get out of the house for an activity/errands
  • 12 p.m. – Make lunch
  • 12:30-2:30 p.m. – Read, make crafts, play time
  • 2:30-4:30 p.m. – Go to the park, pool, playtime – physical activity time
  • 4:30-6:30 p.m. – Help with dinner
  • 6:30 p.m. – Eat dinner
  • 6:30-9:30 p.m. – Family time
  • 9:30 p.m. – Bedtime
  1. Make sure the routine includes healthful eating and minimal dining out or snacks. When kids are home all day, they are tempted to eat a lot more, scheduling meals and snacks can help with this. This rule should hold even when on vacation.
  2. Take the opportunity to fit in plenty of physical activity. Kids sit a lot during the school year, so over the summer they should get up and move!
  3. Have a list of fun activities posted on the house so that when kids declare, “I’m bored!” you can direct them to the list to pick an activity.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Eleanor Mackey, PhD, is a child psychologist and works primarily with the Obesity Institute and Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Mackey is also a mother of two girls.

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