Summer Break and Outnumbered

The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and… you’re not sure where to begin. Between kids, work, coping with separation and divorce, as well as your other obligations, you might feel like you’ll be stretched pretty thin. With the right plan in place, though, you can have a great summer break with your kids without sacrificing everything else.

Childcare and Summer Break

Whether your custody arrangement gives you a few weeks with your kids or the whole summer, it’s a good idea to pre-plan child care. If your kids are already enrolled in a program, great; if they’re not, you’ll need to set something up as soon as possible so you’re sure they’re taken care of when you’re not available.

Ask for Kids’ Input

Sit down with your kids and let them toss out ideas to make this the best summer break yet. You can help guide them by coming up with ideas of your own, too. Try:

– Planning to make meals together, such as weekly taco nights or Delicious Dessert Friday
– Visiting nearby attractions that bundle fun with education, like the Toronto Zoo, your local library or the Royal Ontario Museum (it’s cheaper on Fridays!)
– Having unplanned days that the kids can lounge, relax or go outside and soak up some sun

Including kids in the planning stage helps ensure that you all have the opportunity to have a great time during summer break. Many parents also include “family time” so they can connect with each other instead of cell phones and the Internet.

Stick to Routines

For the most part, kids do best with routines. You don’t have to be extremely rigid, but setting a few ground rules and boundaries will help ensure you’re not battling cranky kids looking for limits. Bedtime can be a little flexible, but every night probably shouldn’t be a free-for-all. Sure, they can sleep in—after all, it’s summer—but some sort of a regular sleep routine will probably be best for all of you.

Some parents find that assigning age-appropriate chores works out well, and others feel that summer is all about the fun. Either way is fine, as long as you’re doing something that works for your family.