6 Tips for Staying Sane (and Structured!) This Summer

Thank you to Wolfson Children's Hospital and Baptist Health Jacksonville for sponsoring this post and helping parents build healthy habits with their children.

summer routineIf you’re a kid, you’re probably beyond pumped that school’s out! But if you’re a parent, the big question is this: Now what? If you’ve been able to line up a series of summer camps for your children, congrats! Your job is pretty much done. But if you haven’t, know that you’re not alone — and also know that keeping the kiddos endlessly entertained for weeks doesn’t have to be completely overwhelming. At least, not if you stay structured and have a solid summer routine.

READ: The Ultimate Guide for Getting Organized for Summer

Your main task is to keep your children occupied and on schedule (much like you would during the school year). Joseph Frank, MD, a pediatrician with Mandarin Pediatrics, offers a few simple summer routine tips for overwhelmed parents facing a long few weeks home with the kids.

1. Go outdoors

An easy way to boost your kids’ mental and physical health is by getting outside! Encourage them to go on a walk, ride bikes or scooters, explore a hiking trail, or enjoy some water play in the backyard.

2. Limit screen time

Dr. Frank has seen a rise in young children struggling with headaches and mood swings, which could be attributed to kids spending more and more time on devices such as tablets, smartphones, and video games. It can be tough during the summer but if you can, try to limit your child’s screen time and electronics to no more than two hours per day, as this may minimize stress and lessen headaches.

3. Get consistent sleep

Ensuring that your children maintain a consistent sleep schedule is crucial not just for preschoolers and young children, but also for teenagers who are still growing. Sleep routines can be hugely beneficial, even during the summer months.

4. Encourage independence

The more responsibility your children have, the more confident they will become. Make sure any tasks or chores you put in place are clear-cut and appropriate for their developmental age. When possible, utilize positive reinforcement over negative reinforcement.

5. Set some free time

Hearing “I’m bored!” might be the bain of every parent’s existence, but it is necessary! Allow your children to have unstructured free time without devices or electronics so they can learn what it means to be bored. When faced with these “I’m bored” moments, they are more likely to express their creativity and engage in imaginative play.

6. Prioritize quality time as a family

No matter how busy you are, spend time together as a family. For example, prioritize eating breakfast or dinner together, or go on a family walk each evening. If your kids know to expect some family togetherness at a set time each day, they are less likely to fight it — and they may even start to look forward to that quality time!

If you could use a little help building healthy habits with your child this summer, Baptist Primary Care pediatricians can offer advice and guidance. To find the right provider for you and your family, call  904.202.4YOU (4698) or fill out the appointment request form.


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