Your kids have probably never heard of Alice Cooper, but you might feel like they've been doing a darn good impression of the singer lately.
"School's out for summer! / School's out forever!"
And though their enthusiasm is admirable, the long break can be anxiety-ridden for parents. Are the kids going to be bored? Are they going to be doing too much? How am I going to do it?
Of course, your reaction depends on the type of parent you are. Do you identify with one of these personalities?
In her non-summer life, Emily is president of the PTA, a member of the 100 club (10 times over) at Pure Barre and a work-from-home social media strategist who finds herself responding to tweets at 1 a.m. She also volunteers at the food bank 10 hours a week and leads the church fundraiser that collects money to open a recycling facility in South America.
When it comes to summer, Emily already has her kid's summer planned. Mondays are all about music with piano lessons in the morning and regular attendance at the orchestra's outdoor lunch concert series. On Tuesdays, the family will tackle summer enrichment and the library reading program—in which Emily's kids will no doubt be leaders—and Wednesdays are for swimming and improving water skills. After all, the family has an action-packed beach trip planned where they will learn to surf and rescue baby sea turtles.
What to do: Take a step back. While keeping your kids busy during the summer will silence the refrain of, "we're bored," before it starts, doing too much could plant a seed of resentment.
Ask your kids to set a goal for the summer and help them map out a plan to reach it--and how to balance it. Maybe they want to be at the top of the summer reading program, and you can help them come up with a fun list of titles. Afterward, help them think of some fun ways to stay active—maybe they can join a recreational sports team or meet friends at the park every Friday for a bike ride.
Star Athlete Adam
Adam played first-string quarterback all four years of high school and was MVP of his state-title baseball team. An injury in summer football camp his freshman year, though, kept him off the college teams. Otherwise, he would have been the next Bo Jackson—and trust us, he won't let you forget it. Adam still keeps himself immersed in athletics, coaching the championship Little League team
When it comes to summer, Adam is all about turning his kids into the stars of the sports team. There are individual sessions with sports trainers and long practices with club teams. At night, a friendly game of catch turns into a strategy session for grip on the baseball. He bases their summer vacation plans on their favorite professional team's schedule and the proximity to sports museums. Inspiration is the source of motivation, right?
What to do: Ask your child which sport he or she would like to play and sign them up for a park league team. But try to provide balance; if they choose baseball, request they spend a morning or two in the pool. If they choose the swim club's competitive team, ask them to join you for a 5K this summer.
If the race benefits a cause they're passionate about (animal shelter, let's say), they just might be up for it. It's easy to push for specialization, even in the youngest kids, but a well-rounded athlete is a strong, happy kid.