Summer should be a time for fun and relaxation. However, if you are a parent of a busy youngster the concept of fun and relaxation doesn’t last long during the summer. Children want and need activities that allow them to learn, play and grow. So, before your child comes to you in the middle of June asking, “What can I do now Mom?” Plan some activities! First, think of your child’s age, interests and abilities. Then, start connecting the dots to find the venues that will keep your child motivated and excited about attending these activities. Most parents prefer physical activities such as swimming, tennis, golf, basketball, soccer and other sports lessons and camps. However, many children enjoy reading, writing, science and math. These venues could involve your local library, 4-H, etc. Checkout the different venues through on-line web sites, friends, school and neighbors. Be realistic about your time and scheduling. If you are a career parent choose a program or center that takes children to these venues and or has lessons and activities on site. As an education coordinator and mother, I can tell you this is the best route to take if your time is limited. Summer programs also have many lessons at private clubs that you may not have access.
Next, set-up a time to visit these venues with your child to study firsthand how they are instructed. First impressions are vital when it comes to choosing. Is your child interested and enthusiastic about being there? Are the instructors engaging and thoughtful? Is the equipment child oriented? Is the facility safe and clean? Are their credentials up to date? Is the pricing fair? Does the venue have a schedule that works for your family? Will your child be placed with a group that is similar in age? If you can answer yes to these questions you have probably found the correct facility for your child.
Now, before making a huge commitment, ask if your child can attend on a short trial basis. By doing so, you can ensure you will not be forcing your child to attend if the interest level begins to fade. Don’t over commit your child with too many activities and obligations. Children do not like spending a long time in cars. So, find venues that don’t require a huge amount of road time.
Finally, keep in mind children usually have many interests that pertain to the media, friends and hype about something new. If your child has a friend attending activities they tend to keep one another motivated about going.
There are a plethora of summer day camps, schools and clubs out there to keep your child’s summer active and full. Just be prudent and do your homework before making a commitment. Remember, this is about what your child enjoys, not about you! If you have questions about choosing summer activities, send your e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.