This Summer, Take a Vacation from the Schedules

This summer take a vacation from the schedulesThis summer, think about taking a vacation from the schedules. All year long, parents are frantic, kids are stressed, and schedules are hectic. We dump loads of cash into after school activities which we hope will do heaven only knows what for our children’ future selves. We waste countless hours catching the occasional glimpse of our child in a rear view mirror or from a distance on a cold, wet bleacher or a hot auditorium seat. We worry about the kids who don’t care about homework and tests. We worry just as much about the kids who do care, because we worry about how much they are worrying. We hover, we tutor, we drive, we rush, we cheer, we Facebook, we research, we complain, we console, we applaud, we STRESS. AND, our kids stress. Studies continue to show higher levels of anxiety and depression in kids today … and here we think we are giving them everything. The one thing we are not giving them, is the one thing they truly need. Time. Time to play, time to imagine, time to be bored, time to explore, time to reflect, time to be comfortable with themselves.

As you are starting to look at the summer calendar, and wondering, “What am I going to do with these kids all summer?” remember this. Your kids only have one childhood and for growing minds, play is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Organized play does not count. Play with adults watching to be sure no one skins a knee or God forbid hurts a feeling, does not count. Practices with coaches and games with scoreboards do not count. Experts in child psychology tell us how important play is. Educators tout the importance of play. We parents all┬ásay we just want happy, healthy kids, yet we schedule and plan because we are terrified we may have to entertain them during the off-school season. Do not entertain them. It is your job to love them and feed them. You are not a circus clown or a party starter. You may hear some complaining. You may have to accept a little boredom. Just wait. They are kids. Give them space and time, and they will figure it out. They will play because that is what they are hardwired to do. This summer, put your checkbook and planner away, and give them something truly valuable. Get out of their way and give them┬átime to be a kid.

This summer

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.


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