Is it OK if I just want my child to take it easy?

      A child’s summer doesn’t have to be filled with camp and organized activities. Some parents decide not to send their children to camp at all, opting instead for a relaxed, unstructured few months. This works best for parents who can tolerate a loose schedule and follow their child’s lead, and who don’t mind a day without plans. Parents who prefer more structure or who can’t let their child stay home because of work schedules can still set aside some free summer time for the family to take it easy together.

     For a child, “taking it easy” can mean finding enjoyable things to do at home or in the neighborhood. Kids can play in backyard pools and sprinklers, plant a garden, fly kites, play with sand, play hopscotch, draw a chalk design on the sidewalk, play tennis and baseball, skate, have a yard sale, play board games, build a fort, go to playgrounds, ride a bike, sell lemonade, learn to knit or draw, read, or write a story. Kids can play with friends, by themselves, or with the family. They can continue many of the recreational classes and lessons they took during the school year.

     Summer is an important time for families. Schedules are often less hectic and there are more opportunities to be together. Even if both parents work, longer daylight hours leave evenings open for such activities as soccer, badminton, swimming, hide and seek acting, hiking, baking, and reading together. If parents have errands, they can take their child along and include time for an ice cream stop. If they have to work over the weekend, they can take him with them and let him work at something too.

     If you decide not to send your child to camp, try to strike a balance between freedom and structure. Whatever he does, he’ll still need supervision. A six- to nine-year-old lacks the judgment to play without being frequently checked on by an adult. On the other hand, free time should remain relatively open. Don’t fill all his hours with prearranged activities or pressure him to accomplish many goals. Leave him time to explore and play on his own.

     While he is home, his friends may be off at camp; this won’t be a problem if he can occupy himself. But if he gets bored or lonely, you should help him find activities to get involved in. You may decide to compromise and send him to camp for part of the summer, letting him have the rest of the summer free.

Picture Credit : Google