summer routine children

The last twelve months have demanded that each of us practice flexibility, and act in ways that are more different than ever before. As a result, I have little doubt that most parents will welcome summer and the chance to relax just a little. It goes without saying that children will welcome it too, and most assuredly if they’ve spent the last year or more experiencing online school and/or mom or dad at the front of their classroom.

In many respects, the recent past has required that we react to a multitude of changes. This has brought about two things that are important for us to recognize, particularly when thinking about children and families – heightened stress levels and new routines that afford little normalcy.

Summer will be a time to let our attention to these heightened stress levels and new routines go. But please be aware, there is a paradoxical relationship between the whims we embrace in summer and the ideas that keep us grounded.

There is value in both routine and the opportunity to do without it. Surely the onset of summer vacation will encourage all of us to take advantage of some downtime, become less reliant on the clock, and alter our tendency towards completing this and that. It will also likely lessen the level of stress that we have become accustomed to. However, it is important to realize that before we let go of too much, especially for small children and even older ones, our routines provide us comfort. They are normal. They are commonplace in our lives and they play a vital role in decreasing our stress. 

So, as you ready yourselves to do new things and embark on new adventures, maintain a level of mindfulness that will ensure you and your loved ones some semblance of normal. Don’t throw everything you do in terms of schedule to the wind. I encourage you to keep the most basic routines and expectations – diet, bedtime schedule, and family fun – as once the summer sun sets, you will need it. Assuming that your children can return to what was once the age-old, pre-COVID August through May school schedule, they will too. And they will thank you for it because their minds will be eased and they will be more ready than ever to tackle whatever new challenges might come their way.

Image Credit: MOMI

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Dr. Eric Dustman is the head of school at Montessori School of Maui. Serving in similar capacities for over two decades in Ohio and mainland China, his professional career has included research on empathy in children and opportunities to write and speak on topics related to art, leadership, school culture, and community building within schools. He is also a member of both the Hawaii Council of Private Schools and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools Board of Directors.

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