Having just about a month in with the kids off from school, families may or may not be settling into a routine or believe structure and schedules are important in summer.
It’s important for both kids and adults to incorporate routine into their lives. Structure provides stability and decreases stress levels, especially during chaos summer sometimes brings as families juggle their jobs and kids’ activities.
Samaritan Counseling therapist Kara Palsz says, “Structure contributes a sense of security, accomplishment, and overall well-being. It boosts self-esteem. It also provides the extra nudge we need to take care of ourselves when we sometimes take a summer vacation from healthy eating, staying active and spending time together.”
Why keep up with routines during the summer months…
- Structure is vital for kids’ growth and development.
- Routinely reading or stimulating kids mentally helps them maintain what they learned during the school year.
- Lack of routine can lead to anxiety, weight gain and lack of productivity.
How to include physical activity and healthy eating into routines
- Set expectations and boundaries (i.e. no more than 2 hours of tv or electronics per day).
- Plan out weekly play dates or encourage older kids to plan activities with their friends.
- Schedule weekly family outings or time together (i.e. bike rides, watching a movie).
- Model healthy behaviors and involve kids (i.e. cooking a meal together, going for a walk).
Simple ways to keep structure during the summer…
- Maintain daily routines — regular wake-up, eating, and bedtimes.
- Sign up for summer school programs.
- Get involved with summer competitions like reading programs, sports, etc.
- Join park and recreation programs or get involved in summer camps.
- Schedule family trips or activities and involve the kids in planning the day, excursion or event.
- Find ways to volunteer, help out a neighbor or encourage young adults to find summer jobs.
***Kara Palasz is a certified substance abuse counselor and a licensed professional Counselor in training. She sees clients of all ages at our Oshkosh and Menasha locations with a variety of mental wellness concerns, including trauma, mood disorders, anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, ADHD, anger management, self-harm, borderline personality disorder, and substance abuse and/or dependence.