Dr. Amanda Anderson

Behavioral Health Clinic Summer Tips

Happy summer vacation! For kids, summer break is all about relaxation and less-structured schedules. On the other hand, moving away from the school routine can make parents feel a bit more stressed. Here are a couple tips to help you make the most of sweet summertime by getting kids outside more and keeping bedtimes consistent.

  • Less screen time and more outdoor time. A great idea is to have kids earn one minute of screen time for each minute they spend being active outside. This will help motivate your kids to get outside and not spend all day on their screens. Sun exposure earlier in the day promotes better sleep at night. Remember to send kids out with sun protection, a hydrating beverage and avoid the hottest times of day (12 p.m. – 3 p.m.). Since parents are models for their children, we should also schedule time to be outside with our kids engaged in activities (bird watching, bike rides, neighborhood walks, etc.). Also, you can have your kids read books outside or journal outdoors about their summer day.  
  • Bedtimes. Just because school is out, does not mean kids should be permitted to stay up super late. It is recommended to keep regular sleep and wake times consistent during the summer months. Encourage your kids to go to bed at the same time and try to wake up at the same time each morning (i.e., hours before noon). Try to stay within an hour of their usual schoolyear bedtime. Give their electronic devices a bedtime, too; electronic devices too close to bedtime can make falling asleep particularly difficult. It is recommended that an hour or two before bedtime kids should power down their screens and even turn in their devices to parents to avoid sneaking back on them later at night.

The key is to not stray too far from your schoolyear routine. Keeping some structure in your family life will make for a less stressful summer for you and a more enjoyable one for your kids and family!

Dr. Amanda Anderson, Psy.D., Clinic Director