Wondering about how to plan for the months that your children are off from school? Here are a few tips on keeping kids happy, engaged and learning from Shani Halfon, registered early childhood educator and professional practice analyst at the College of Early Childhood Educators.
- Embrace the free time. Just because their schedule changes now doesn’t mean it will be impossible to get your kids back on track come September; they’ll adjust as will you. “From a child development perspective, rest and down time are good things,” explains Halfon. Parents don’t need to be anxious about their children having an unstructured schedule throughout the couple months of summer vacation — it offers the opportunity for uninterrupted extended play.
- Connect to your community. There are often many free events in your area. Find out what’s happening in your community, such as festivals, plays, markets, park trails, and library activities. Stay aware of everything by reading your local newspaper, following local businesses and organizations on social media, and signing up for community emails and newsletters.
- Expert-approved summer vacation planning tips for parents. Not every family can afford a vacation, but you can offer your child new experiences that they will treasure forever, even if it’s just for a day or weekend. Go out and enjoy the fresh air and longer daylight hours, exploring green areas, lakes and nature. You can also plan a picnic in your local park or near a school playground.
- Develop a child care strategy. Parents can struggle to find someone to look after the kids while they’re at work, but there are some options. You may find subsidized day camp options through your local government or at community centres and organizations like the YMCA. If you’re planning on sending your kids to camp, it’s okay to space out the weeks or alternate with child care and other arrangements, allowing for both free time and routine in their summer break.
- Listen to your child’s needs. Consider maintaining bedtimes and meal times if your child thrives in a routine. “When it comes to deciding on a summer schedule, ultimately parents know best what’s right for their own children, so find the right balance for yours,” recommends Halfon.
SOURCE: News Canada