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Lifestyle

May 23, 2014

Dr. Kate's Parent Rap: Five tips for making the most of summertime

Summer will be here in one month. Many of us want to jump up and down with glee, while others are panicked because we don’t know what to do with our kids without the structure of school. I think a great perspective on summer is to view it as a time to try some new things as parents while engaging your child in a change of pace, as well.

This coming summer vacation will last just over nine weeks for many children. This is a significant amount for time to change things that have been frustrating and better your home life. Here are some ways how:

1. Explore authoritative parenting: For parents who don’t feel they have as much control over their children’s behaviors as they would like, I invite you to explore an authoritative parenting approach. The name may be scary for some raised to believe parents being an “authority figure” doesn’t acknowledge a child’s value; however, if you can get beyond the name, the practice of authoritative parenting has a lot to offer parents. Its effectiveness is based on 40-plus years of evidence-based research by D. Baumrind and other psychologists. The philosophy is simple and states, “Keep the demands high and the nurturance high” and avoid being too permissive or controlling.

2. Plan structured activities: Part of any successful parenting management plan is having a structure for the “down time.” If you’re like me and many parents I’ve talked with, you may feel that summer is a chance for over-scheduled children to catch their breath and to just be kids. That’s great if they are able to handle the transition from highly structured school days to highly unstructured summer days. Many kids aren’t, however, and will need help getting their days to be productive and fulfilling. With their kids’ input, parents can plan how to spend days in a more structured way. At least part of every day should include some family activity, some friend activity and some individual (even tech time) activity.

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