Countdown to Summer Break: Saint Leo Psychology Professor Offers Useful Tips for Parents
Dr. Tammy Zacchilli suggests preparing a schedule as No. 1 priority
By Dr. Tammy Lowery Zacchilli
It’s hard to believe that summer break is almost here.
Students and teachers are finishing those last required exams and taking part in end-of-year activities. Our May calendars have been so packed that we didn’t think we ever would make it through the end of the month. But how many of us are truly ready for summer break and having the kids home for two months?
Here are some ideas to help you prepare for summer break and avoid meltdowns or boredom.
1. Consider your own schedule for the summer. I, like other teachers and professors, am fortunate to have summer break with my children. While this can be exciting, this also can lead to additional stress since we aren’t accustomed to being around each other all day. Other parents may not have as much time off, so planning for their children’s summer break may be a bit more challenging. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Hopefully, you can also schedule some time off to spend with your children in the summer.
2. Summer is a great time for a vacation or staycation! Some families plan ahead and save money to travel in the summer.
I always love road trips with my children. We have driven from Florida to Maine and back one summer and from Florida to Yellowstone National Park and back on another trip. We always travel one way there and a different way back so we can see as many places as possible. We also take shorter trips to Georgia to visit our family.
Since we live in Florida, there are so many possibilities for a staycation too. Quick trips to the beaches, parks, zoos, aquariums, or amusement parks can be fun ways to enjoy summer break.
3. I definitely recommend checking out the camps offered in your area. If children stay home all day, all summer long, it can be difficult to keep them from getting bored.
Some local elementary schools offer camps throughout the summer to help parents who are working during the break.
You also can find camps for all sorts areas such as dance, music, gymnastics, art, etc. We even found a train camp for my son this June. Here is a great resource for summer camps offered in the Tampa Bay area: https://fun4tampakids.com/Camps/Variety-Camps/. And Saint Leo University is hosting camps ranging from athletics to CSI and robotics. Find out more here. Just remember that camps may fill up quickly so be sure to sign up as soon as possible!
4. Plan some activities for those days at home. Obviously, we can’t expect to travel all summer or have camps and activities planned every day. That can get expensive! Think about some of the things you did to pass the time during the pandemic. Break out the board games, make chalk drawings on the driveway, make crafts, or paint some pictures with your kids. Encourage them to play outside or check out books from the library.
While we cannot avoid boredom completely, there are plenty of things that kids can do to occupy their time this summer. And remember to get out there and enjoy time with them! Good luck and happy summer!
Dr. Tammy Lowery Zacchilli is a professor of psychology at Saint Leo University. She is the Southeastern Regional Vice President of Psi Chi and associate editor of the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research. Zacchilli earned her bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University; her master’s from Augusta State University; and her PhD from Texas Tech.