How to Have a Healthy and Awesome Summer at Home with Your Kids…and Time Timer
Summer 2020 will be a challenging one for kids who normally bounce their knees up and down during the last few weeks of school, impatiently waiting for 3 months of no homework and constant play. The unprecedented spread of COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in most people’s summer plans, adults and children alike. Many families’ summer vacations have been canceled, and any social gatherings taking place among friends at home will be much different due to the practice of social distancing. Children that normally play outside with friends all day long throughout the summer are going to have to make some difficult and uncomfortable adjustments. Still, that doesn’t mean families can’t have fun while at home - they’ll just need to think outside the box... while close to home.
Having to limit the fun for the bulk of the summer means there is going to be a natural temptation to immerse yourself in the digital world – for both the kids and the adults: Social media to stay connected with other people, streaming services for entertainment with movies and TV shows, and video games for some cooperative or competitive fun. However, screen-related activities aren’t always the best for anyone’s health, mental or physical, nor are they great for socializing. There are still plenty of ways to have fun and stay entertained without using a phone, laptop, or television.
See below for suggestions for making this summer as awesome as possible!
Get Back Into Board Games
It’s likely that most families have at least one old board game shoved away in a cabinet somewhere, waiting to be taken out and dusted off. Whether it’s Sorry, Monopoly, Apples and Oranges, or Dungeons and Dragons, you won’t regret having a family game night with some friendly, competitive fun. If you don’t any board games, you can order some online through Target or Amazon, or seek out your local shops that may offer delivery or curbside pickup.
Since your kids are going to be spending much more time away from public parks, pools, woods, and other places full of sights and wonder, it may be beneficial to encourage them to indulge their artistic side a bit to recreate the places they like to go, or wish to go while travel is limited. Drawing a picture of the beach, painting trees in the forest, or writing a story or journaling about riding bikes and diving in pools can be a great way for kids to stay connected to the things they love doing.
This one may be harder to get your kids into, unless they are natural bookworms, but reading can be a great way to pass the time during lazy days on the couch or porch. Most families probably have a few unread books taking up space on their bookshelves, and now’s the time to get through them. If you have smaller children, setting up a time each week for storytime could be great for keeping them entertained and interested in family activities.
Your child may have been involved in an afterschool activity, like a club or a sport, that kept them active. Sports may be coming back for many schools in the fall, albeit in a limited fashion, so making sure your child stays active and healthy over the summer can build anticipation for the return. There are plenty of indoor exercises children can do over the summer to keep them from being total couch potatoes. Push-ups, planks, and sit-ups are just a few examples of exercises that don’t require equipment nor a whole lot of space. Ask your kids - they may have learned plenty of exercises of the sort in their gym class.
Build a Backyard Oasis
So often during the summer it seems that the schedule can be packed full of activities that keep you away from home. During this unusual time, why not spend the time creating a backyard you want to enjoy? This doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking but adding some flowers and painting furniture that needs to be touched up can give your outdoor space a whole new feel.
Plan a safe activity with the neighborhood kids
There are a wide variety of fun activities that your children can enjoy with the other kids in the neighborhood. For example, a particularly hot and humid summer day would be perfect for a water fight. From super soakers to water balloons, these activities offer a ton of refreshing fun and still allow everyone to stay socially distanced.
Take a hike
We’ve noticed an uptick in people dusting off their hiking boots and getting outside. When faced with the option of sitting inside or getting out and exploring a new area, always go for the exploration option. The hike doesn’t have to be an all-day event, especially if you have reluctant participants in tow. This is an activity that can be eased into.
Plant some veggies
Even with limited space, there are options for growing fruits and vegetables right in your own space. A tomato plant or a hanging strawberry basket is a great way to begin growing your own produce. This is an especially fun activity for curious kids who are excited to be a part of the growing process. Who knows, they might even find a new food they didn’t know they enjoyed previously.
Don’t Let Go of Old Interests, and Explore New Ones
As mentioned above, it’s likely your child’s favorite after school or summer activities were canceled for the sake of safety. It can be hard to recreate things like Quick Recall or marching band from home, but it’s important to find ways to stay interested in the activities that brought your child joy, as well as finding new activities. Hold family quiz nights if your child is involved in Quick Recall or watch Jeopardy when it comes on to test their knowledge. Encourage your child to keep practicing instruments if they play them and have them hold mini concerts if they would be willing.
In addition, ask your child if they had been wishing during the school year to try something new, but weren’t able to find the time for it. Now would be a great time for them to explore new interest areas, be it learning to play an instrument, speak a new language, or get into drawing. Keep your children inspired, and they will stay busy, and happy.
Your kids probably have a lot of questions about what is going on in the world right now - big questions you may have a hard time answering. It’s important to stress to them that they should strive to keep learning outside of the classroom. Reading, watching documentaries, and holding on to a curiosity about the world and your surroundings are all things that could greatly benefit children during this summer.
How Time Timer Can Make It All Easier
Most, if not all, of the activities outlined above can be made even better with Time Timer. Time Timer can make for a more inclusive atmosphere for families with a diverse array of interests. Special needs children and children with multiple siblings will benefit greatly from the implementation of Time Timer in their home. See below for some ways that Time Timer can help make this summer a lot easier.
For siblings with varying interests, it can be hard to agree on exactly what to do as a family. Time Timer can make this much easier, by allowing children to divide their time between the different activities each child wants to do. You can dedicate 30 minutes to a board game that one child likes, then another 30 minutes for a board game another child likes. A Time Timer visual timer provides an easy visual aide that can make the question “how much time is left?” much less frequent for impatient children, who may bug their parents about checking their phones for the time.
For parents that may need to work from home during this time, a Time Timer visual timer can be a blessing. Letting your children see in real-time how much time you’ll need to spend working on your laptop, or be on a call, can give them a good sense of how long they will need to independently take care of, and entertain, themselves and each other. This will also instill a sense of independence in children, which will likely lead to hearing “I’m bored” a bit less throughout the day.
Summer Reading Time
For kids that may be a little resistant to getting through the bookshelf, having short, easy increments of time for their reading can be helpful. A little bit of reading before TV time can be beneficial. Alternatively, you can set a certain amount of TV time before putting them onto reading, or any other activity-putting a Time Timer visual timer next to the TV as a reminder when a 20, 30, or 60-minute allotted screentime has passed.
For home exercises that keep children physically fit, you can use a Time Timer visual timer to set a determinate amount of time for either a whole session or for single exercises.
One great benefit of implementing a Time Timer visual timer into your children’s lives is that the parent no longer needs to be the “bad guy” in telling a child when to stop watching TV, or when they need to switch to another activity for the sake of a sibling. With the additional help in instilling a better sense of independence in children, your kids will learn to simply pay attention to the Time Timer and respect its rules. It’s easier to battle with and negotiate with a parent over how to allot their time rather than an inanimate object, so when the colored rundown on the timer finally runs out, it’s hard to argue with it.
On the side of parents who have a lot to juggle, it is much easier to manage time in the household with a Time Timer. Being able to give a quick look at how much red is left on the timer is easier than glimpsing at the phone and struggling to recall just when a certain activity was started.
Parents and children of all abilities and backgrounds are guaranteed to have an awesome summer with any of these suggestions, and an even better one with a Time Timer!