With spring in full swing, many parents are now in the process of making summer plans and arrangements for their children. My favorite word regarding most things is “balance,” and children’s summers are no exceptions.
Children definitely benefit from having some structured activity during the summer months but it is equally important that they are not overscheduled and have downtime.
Without any structured or semi-structured activities, children tend to lose some of the gains they made during the year in personal (independence), social and emotional development, and also in fine motor and cognitive development. Experiencing some type of group activity and structure during part of the summer makes it easier for the children to transition back to school in August.
Summer camp programs provide children with opportunities for social interaction, new experiences, and for many, the very important required participation in activities not of their own choosing.
Conversely, children also need time to be comfortable in their own company and entertain themselves. Be sure there is plenty of opportunity for creative endeavors, family activity and just plain downtime when children can and have to choose and participate in their own imaginative and creative endeavors without adults. Make time for them to get together and have unstructured time with friends to build their relationships and to practice social skills like sharing, compromise, cooperation and conflict resolution.
As you plan your summer, please keep my favorite word in mind. Include balanced time for your children (and you!) to relax so they can return to school refreshed and rested.
Shorecrest offers a number of educational and play-based summer programs for preschool children. Programs run May 30-August 4, open to students in PK-12th grade. Before and after care is available. Learn more: