Families look forward to summer all year long – longer days, more time outside and family travel. But how do less structure and the lenient schedules of summer vacation affect kids who thrive on predictability? Kids find security and comfort in routine, and in fact, rely heavily on their schedule to be successful in school and at home.
Many parents just accept that routines will be surrendered during summer vacations. We recommend holding on to a few of the routines that your child can depend on – like bedtime. Research shows that children who get enough sleep are better prepared to handle change, disappointment and adjust to new people and places. Resist the urge of “just this once”; you may be getting some sort term satisfaction, but you setting yourself up for misery later.
The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommends only one to two hours of non-violent screen time a day for kids over two. It is tempting to give kids screen time between activities, or during “down time” on a vacation – but those minutes add up to quite a lot of screen time! Pack an bag with activity books, inexpensive games, books, stickers or tattoos and pick a script like, “my phone is just for making calls”, I have a bag full of different things for you to play with.” And be a good example, engage and interact with the kids in the car, while waiting in line and in restaurants.
With a little planning you can create islands of predictability wherever you are.