By Carol Smith
Summer is here! For many of us, this means new routines, and that is not always easy on the family. For teens it looks easier because they can stay home alone but this is also an opportunity for "idle" hands. It's important to not schedule their days full but also to give them structure and routine (and responsibilities!) Check out the days we are meeting together on the youth website or the events on the ECC Youth Parents page. If your teens and their friends need something to do, I would gladly open the gym for volleyball or basketball. Just let me know a good day. Look for upcoming opportunities to serve, grow, and learn this summer!
Now that summer is here you might find yourself in between excitement and feeling overwhelmed. You are not alone; this is really common for parents. Rather than being discouraged, you can be equipped. No matter the age, creating a rhythm of rest, responsibility, recreation, and response helps develop healthy living. God created us for these things.
The 4-Rs of Summer!
Rest: While we all know toddlers need to rest, what we don’t realize is that teens need more sleep than we give them credit for. They get cranky similar to a toddler. This means night sleep, but it’s more than that. Allow for unscheduled relaxed time. Find a list of things that can be done in this time: read a book, create art, take a nap outside, journal, devotional. Here are a couple you can try out for kids and teens.
Responsibility: Chores are good for their development. Giving them something to do and allowing them to do it their way like folding towels or putting the dishes away. Something every day teaches them that family life if a joint effort! Ideas for age appropriate chores.
Recreation: Physical movement is essential for the mind, body, and soul. Have them pick a 20-30 minute physical activity to do everyday. Bike ride, circuit exercise, swim, or a walk to the store (technology free!).
Respond: It’s important to give opportunities to respond to God’s calling on our lives to love our neighbors. Schedule a time in the week to respond to needs. For little kids, this could be going through toys and giving one thing to someone who needs it more, or making a gift for a family member. For teens this could be mowing or child care for a neighbor without getting paid.