Summer sanity for kids and parents

Valissa Milanovich, LAYSB

School is out and summer here.

By now, parents may be looking for a camp, job or class to fill the time. How can your family enjoy summer after the honeymoon is over?

The answer is structure, expectations, and family time.

Kids thrive from structure. They may act like they despise having their days planned, but most kids rely on the predictability of each day.

Does this mean their days should be blocked off from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.? No, but five or six hours planned for each day  helps parents know what their kids are up to and leaves time for youth to do their own thing.

Use whatever fits your family: sports, religious events, camps, classes, music lessons. Summer is a great time to brush up on school stuff.

If your teen is old enough for a job, encourage her to apply somewhere part-time. In addition to its many other benefits, the job will provide structure to the day.

Summer expectations should cover household chores and friend time.

Everyone should help around the house. Try changing the chores your kids are expected to do. Parents choose whether they should be paid.

Expectations for friend time can be summarized as who, what, when, where and why? Kids may seem annoyed that parents want to know who they are with and what they are doing, but most appreciate the concern. Kids whose parents care what they are doing get into much less trouble.

Fun is the final component. Families can get so busy they forget to spend time together. Plan family time however it fits with your schedules, from Friday night yard games to week-long vacations.

Use family time to check in with each other and genuinely listen to everyone’s high points, complaints and suggestions.

Families who regularly spend time with one another experience less conflict and create more enjoyable memories.