Summer vacation is starting, and parents are already stressed, so how, despite this, will you survive summer vacation? Just for this purpose, Dr. Shoshi Greenwald has collected for you, tired parents, 8 tips for 8 weeks of endless vacation.
- A Schedule is Successful: As much as possible, keep some regular daily routine that will provide the children with some structure, even if only partial. For example, divide up the days into morning, afternoon and evening activities, together with the respective meals, so that the children will know what to expect each day, just like when they go to school. Set up the summer schedule with them, and at the same time create the expectation for special activities that are not part of the daily routine, such as a day at the amusement park or water park, or a camping trip, etc.
- Disengagement 2022: In contrast to the original disengagement plan of 2006, it is important that the steps not be unilateral. In this case, we’re referring to mutual disengagement from the telephone. On one hand, it’s a good idea to limit the number of hours children spend on their cellphones and computers (yes, even during vacation it’s recommended to limit their screen time), but it’s important that during shared time, to make sure that you’re not connected to your cellphone. Aside from setting a personal example, it’s nice to sometimes listen to them (and maybe your adolescents will even succeed in saying more than one sentence, rather than just monosyllables).
- Sleep is for Wimps? Of course most children will go to bed later than on a regular school day, and that’s fine. Notwithstanding that, it’s worthwhile to decide ahead of time on a set bedtime that will provide the teenagers and especially the younger children enough hours sleep so that they’re not overtired the next day.
- Life is Not a Movie: Take advantage of the summer vacation for conversations with your children and teens about self-protection and critical viewing, each child according to his level. Clearly their exposure to screen time is likely to be greater than during the school year, hence the imperative for an open and precise conversation about sex and violence.
- Make Yourselves at Home: Children are home much more over the summer. This is an excellent opportunity to assign them regular chores which will give them the feeling that this is their home too, and that they have a role there. It can start with folding and putting away laundry, washing dishes or sweeping and washing the floors. This is a habit that can continue, of course, during the school year as well.
- Two is a Couple: Summer vacation isn’t only for children! If you are parents, this is a wonderful time to invest in your relationship. One morning or evening a week should be for you two alone. This is a must! If you are single parents, don’t let summer vacation stop you for looking for love. Keep searching for your one true love, and don’t let summer vacation be your excuse to put off the next date. It is precisely for this reason that we prepare our teenage children, or our neighbors’ teenagers to babysit!
- Memories: It’s worth remembering that you don’t need to travel to the Alps to provide your children with sweet childhood memories. Sometimes just an ice cream or a family hike in Israel can make the children feel that they have the best family in the world.
- Grandma’s Garden: Summer vacation is the perfect opportunity to connect grandparents and grandchildren. Convince your parents that it will be good for them (which is true!), convince your children that being at Saba and Savta’s house is the most fun there can be (this is also true – I swear!!), and use the opportunity to properly observe tip #6 without having to spend money on a babysitter. This is what is called a ‘win win situation.’
By Dr. Shoshi Greenwald, social worker, director of the Emunah Family Therapy Centers.
Translated from Onlife Magazine 29/06/2022