How to strengthen your relationship with your children this summer
Kids are out of school and there’s no better time to spend time as a family and build the relationship you have with your child. But how do you fill those summer days meaningfully? How do you balance routine and fun without the structure of school?
The answers to these questions are not complicated. They’re not expensive or time consuming.
Start with spending time with your children. Work to give them a bit of predictability and routine and also allowing space for them to be care-free and play. By doing this, you help foster their sense of self and strengthen the relationship you have with them.
You don’t have to take your kid on an elaborate vacation to have a memorable experience.
Think back to when you were young, what are the fondest memories that you have of your parents?
There’s no question that a trip to Disneyland or an exotic location are special experiences for kids and adults alike. The newness and excitement can certainly bring lasting memories. But the moments when you and your child can connect over something simple can be equally, if not more, impactful.
Your kids just want to spend time with you.
As busy as your life can get, make an effort to carve out time with your children every day. Whether it’s a walk, a trip to the park or a board game – these moments with your child can help your relationship with them to flourish.
Some other simple ideas of activities you and your child can do together:
Teach them something you liked to do when you were their age (fishing, skipping rocks, water sliding in the yard, roasting marshmallows, etc.)
Run through the sprinkler
Go for ice cream
Camp in the backyard
Water balloon fights
Throughout the school year it’s easy to get caught up in all the activities that “have” to get done. Homework and chores are important, but so are, making crafts and building forts. So even if it’s just for a little bit, be present with your child without distraction.
Structure and routine are important too.
Here’s how to make it fun.
Just like adults having regular works hours and days that are predictable, kids respond well to structure and routine. When they know what to expect, it can give them a sense of control over their situation. Planning a weekly schedule for the chores, as well as the fun activities, will help you and your child know what is happening each day, what needs to get done and what to look forward to.
If you face resistance with the idea of a calendar or schedule, involve your child in the process. Their contribution gives a sense of control and makes them more willing to participate. Give them a few options for when chores can be done and also let them pick a few of the more fun activities.
It can help to make the routine or schedule of chores into a game. If they complete a certain amount of tasks, then they could be rewarded in some way. This reinforces a sense of success and accomplishment.
Additionally, having your child help you with tasks, like cooking dinner or doing dishes works to build your relationship, teach life skills and make the task faster and more fun.
Don’t forget to let your kid be a kid.
It can be appealing to try and plan your whole summer with your children – packing each day with adventure, responsibilities and learning experiences, but don’t forget to set aside time for your kid and you to just relax.
At the end of the school year, children need time to decompress. Let them play, get messy and make mistakes. Time away from structured activities are just as important for their minds and personalities.
Enjoy these brief summer days with your children. Relish in their company and cultivate the love that you share.
If you have questions about parenting, we have expert counsellors that would be happy to help you develop your skills.