Getting Through the Dog Days of Summer

dogWe’re at least halfway through summer, more than half in many parts of the country.  For many families I know it is a daily challenge to keep their children engaged in activities other than electronics.  If your child is not signed up for a camp for the whole summer, you and your child need to work out how to spend time.  Earlier this week I posted a link on my Facebook page to a study that showed that children with autism spectrum or  ADHD tend to spend more time playing video games than other children.  If you are one of those parents, know that you are in good company.

Here are some strategies that families I know have found helpful.

  1. Make a schedule that you can use most days.  Kids are more cooperative when they know what to expect.  Get your child’s suggestions for what should be on the schedule.  Be sure to include video games or whatever electronic past time your child enjoys.
  2. Plan some activities that get you and your children out of the house.  This could be as simple as going to a local park to kick a ball around, a trip to the (air conditioned) public library, or it could be a trip to a science museum.  Getting out of the house for part of the day offers a change of scene and guarantees that your child won’t be using electronics for that time.
  3. Arrange play dates.  In fact, see whether you can swap off with another parent.  Your child comes here one day and mine goes to your place another day.
  4. Have some new games or materials at home that you can pull out  when it’s a long rainy day or a play date falls through.  Novelty can generate a lot of interest.
  5. Rent movies that you would like to watch with your child.  I know this involves a screen, but family movie watching can be a pleasant activity.

That’s all that I have in my bag of tricks today. I know these aren’t rocket science.  Sometimes we just need a reminder to get out of our routine.  What else have you found to help your children pass the summer with enjoyment and without excessive reliance on electronics?


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Photo Credit:  Sandor Volenszky on Flickr

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