Parenting Tip of the Week – Structure and Routine during Summer Break

Just like adults, kids need consistency and structure to thrive. Today’s Parenting Tip has some ideas for how parents can reinforce structure and routine and keep stress levels low by creating a summer routine of your own.

The Importance of Structure and Routine

Change can be stressful for children. Unfortunately, growing up comes with constant change that can be difficult for your child. Moving, new siblings, new teachers, the list goes on and on. Summer break is another example of change that can cause confusion or stress in children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, keeping a consistent routine has benefits for both children and parents. Structure not only helps children deal with stress but can also help teach children responsibility and self-control.

There are three keys to creating to structure: consistency, predictability and follow-through. For example, take nap time. Enforcing a consistent time and keeping on a regular schedule will help children know when to expect nap-time to occur, meaning less frustration, confusion and stress (for everyone!).

For school aged children, their school environment provides a lot of the structure and routine that children need to thrive. This summer break, try some of these simple suggestions to help create a consistent summer routine for your children.

Creating a Summer Routine

  1. Create a daily schedule and put it in a place everyone will see it. Create a schedule for your family (an example provided by the CDC can be found here) and hang it where your child can see it each day. Try to keep times consistent, for example having lunch every day at 12:00, nap time every day at 2:00, etc.
  2. Include chores alongside fun activities on the schedule. Letting your child know what you expect is critical to your relationship. Keeping chores as a consistent part of the schedule can help cut down on the frustration of doing chores since your children will know what to expect ahead of time.
  3. Have your child check off each activity as the day goes on. This will help your child look forward to exciting activities and feel accomplished when each is done! Keeping fun items alongside boring ones like chores can help your children stick to their routines.
  4. Keep it positive! Reward your child for following a daily routine with good behavior. For example, you can use stars for every item your child does in their routine without complaint, and give a certain reward, like a trip to get ice cream, after your child has accumulated a certain number of stars. For more inspiration, check out this sample reward chart.

How do you get your kids onto a summer schedule? Let us know by tweeting us @PCAAmerica or by leaving a comment on our Facebook page!