Family Summer Survival Tips

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School’s out for the summer!! This is a time for making memories, relaxing, and some well- deserved time away from the routine of the fall and spring. Ok, let’s face it… along with the fun and unstructured time, there can be some challenges. Below are some tips and tricks that I found helpful for enjoying the brief summer break.

Tips for Travel

I love traveling with my family. It seems we look forward during school time to doing something different during the warm weather. Enjoy these short or long trips because the kids grow up so fast!

  1. Plan ahead- get a calendar and mark the days until you leave. This allows the family to see and “manage” the days until the BIG departure. A child that might be a bit anxious may be the one in charge of putting the X in the square before bedtime.
  2. Check TSA- if traveling by airplane, you will need to check for updates to carry-on and checked bag restrictions https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all

No really, read this website… The TSA does have a sense of humor… artificial skeleton bones are allowed! So are antlers. Sorry, no cattle prods allowed.

  1. There are Trusted Traveler sites so check out the one that best suits where you are going https://www.dhs.gov/trusted-traveler-comparison-chart For example, I am a big fan of applying for the TSA Pre-check. The lines are typically shorter and you can speed through check-in (make sure you follow the TSA rules).
  2. Leave plenty of time to get to the airport, bus station, or train terminal. Traffic never cooperates when you are in a hurry and it makes the entire family cranky.
  3. Pack an extra small bag for souvenirs and those items that went in the bag going but somehow don’t fit coming home.

Tips for Staying Home

There is something relaxing about a “stay-cation”. Not only is it affordable but it allows flexibility due to work or family schedules. There were many summers when adventure was in our own back yard.   

  1. Use screen-time wisely– What happens when the children say “I’m bored”? There is a benefit to not handing over the tablet or video game. Have a family contract that sets limits on screen time. There is so much more to Summertime than being a couch potato for most of the day.  (The Good, the Bad and the Boundary Blog on Screen Time from Ashley Barkley).
  2. Close the kitchen– Yes, when warm weather arrives cook on the grill outside or have cool, refreshing salads. We have done this for many summers (June-July) and my husband gets to be the Grill Master and the inside stove gets a break. The kids plan what they want on the grill and there have been some wild combos. Macaroni and cheese needs a sauce pan (ask me how the kids learned this…). We may zap a few things in the microwave but for the most part the grill is fired up!
  3. Keep the brain engaged– My kids love a good obstacle course. This can be as simple or involved as you want. The point is that it gets the problem-solving flowing. Parents, please supervise for safety but let the children use blankets for tunnels and sofa pillows to cross the “river” https://www.care.com/c/stories/3331/101-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-summer/  Family projects can be super rewarding and cover many categories. Teachers can really tell when students have had a fun summer of discovery and have hands-on activities http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/profdev073.shtml

 

I hope these tip got you thinking of creative ways to enjoy the summer time. Be safe and have a blast getting reconnected with the each other.

Dr. Pam offers counseling for families who are going through a rough time. Dr Pam Rin PhD LMFT Associate

If you or a loved one needs to talk through summertime issues or other matters, please call me for a 15 minute consultation or to set up an appointment. 940-222-8703 Ext. 705.

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