How Can Parents Keep Kids Engaged and Beat the Summertime Blues?

Parents everywhere await the end of the school year with a mixture of anticipation and dread. On the one hand, your kids are finally free from the stresses and pressures of homework, finals and term papers, while you get a bit of a break from managing and monitoring all the academic, extracurricular and athletic engagements that come along with modern parenting. On the other hand, the structure, supervision and intellectual guidance school offers is suddenly gone, and your kids are left to their own devices (literally—their eyes will likely be glued to their devices if you don’t step in.) On top of that, many of the various camps, sports activities and family vacations that traditionally offer some form of relief from the summer doldrums are simply not feasible or safe in midst of the ongoing global pandemic, making things even more challenging for kids and parents alike. What’s a conscientious but busy parent to do?

Make Reading Fun

Many kids probably won’t be itching to get their hands on a book as soon as the school year ends, and that’s understandable. They’ve (presumably) been putting in hours upon hours of academic work each day, and it’s fair to want a break. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on intellectual pursuits completely. Studies have shown that students who read at least 20 minutes a day develop wider vocabularies, perform better on standardized tests, show an increased general knowledge and gain a greater understanding of other cultures. While those facts alone may not make your child more eager to read during summer vacation, you can take a few simple steps to encourage reading. Set up a family reading challenge, for example, with a fun reward at the end of the summer for whomever reads the most. Or set aside a regular time each evening where everyone in the household takes a “reading break” and then discusses what they’ve been reading with each other. You can also create a “page-to-screen” project where everyone reads a book or series and then watches the movie or TV version. Most importantly, help your child find reading material that matches their individual interests, so it doesn’t feel like just another assignment. Comic books, gaming magazines, science fiction novels—it’s all reading, and it’s all good!

Tie Screen Time to Productive Activity 

Negotiating “screen time” is the bane of many a parent’s existence, especially during summer vacation. Finding the middle ground between a complete ban on all technology and 12-hour-a-day gaming sessions can be tricky, but one solution is to consider tying screen time to a set of daily activities. Let your kids “earn” screen time, up to a reasonable limit, by completing household chores, say, or spending a certain amount of time outside gardening, or helping prepare meals. Whatever your activity of choice, you can create a daily routine that strikes the right balance between the virtual and real worlds without making your child feel like they’re being punished. 

Stay Fit Even When PE Class is Out of Session

The biggest challenge for many parents over summer vacation is making sure their kids stay fit and active without the benefit of PE class or school sporting events. That challenge is even more daunting during a quarantine, of course, and many families don’t have access to big yards, home gym equipment or a driveway basketball hoop. That’s where Activ5 can help. Fitness experts agree that if a child is old enough to participate in team sports, they’re generally old enough to engage in some form of strength training. The convenient isometric exercises offered by Activ5 are an ideal way to work in some physical activity and build strength in convenient five-minute stretches. By blending fitness with screen time, they won’t even realize that what they’re doing is beneficial for their bodies!

Here a few exercises you might want to try with your kids: 

Boat Pose: Begin seated on the ground with your knees bent, hip-width apart. Place your Activ5 between both palms, and extend your arms out in front of you. Slightly lean back, keeping your back straight, chest open, and core tight. Press the Activ5 as you squeeze your core.

Chest Press: With your elbows out, hold Activ5 between both hands in the prayer position. Press both palms into Activ5 and squeeze your chest muscles.

Wall Squat: With your back against the wall, place the Activ5 under your left heel. Slide down the wall into a squat. Reach your arms in front so they are parallel to the floor. Press your left heel into the Activ5 while squeezing your left quad.