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Simplify this summer

Published in For the Health of It Author: Megan Bendix, PA-C

Schedule time for your family to relax and just enjoy life this summer. Summer can provide the much needed opportunity to unplug and unwind, without the demands of the school calendar. While enrichment programming and activities abound, it is healthy for children, teens, and yes, also adults, to have downtime.

  • Think through your priorities. Without planning, summer can become consumed with graduation parties, weddings, summer camps and sports games. Choose 3-4 things that you really want to do or accomplish this summer and they don’t have to be “big ticket” items. It could simply be “read three books,” “take a camping trip” or “attend a local parade.”
  • Just say no. This can be easier said than done, but carefully consider whether any non-essential commitments are worth your family’s time. Plan to keep specific times of the day, entire days and even weekends to just be at home as a family so you can play a game in the yard, visit with the neighbors, read a good book or enjoy a family meal.
  • Watch your weekends. It can be tempting to cram as much summer fun as possible into the weekend, but remember that you and the children will be tired and also need time to recover physically and emotionally after lots of activity and traveling before starting another week.
  • Set screen time limits. Summer is too short to waste it behind a screen. Encourage your family to experience the beauty that Minnesota summers offer. Establish your family’s rules for screen time before the summer starts. Explain to your children why the limits are in place and ask what they hope to do or experience this summer.
  • Stay close to home. Traveling can certainly be a highlight of summer, but don’t neglect to take advantage of what your community offers when you are home. Local festivals and events, parks, gardens, beaches, road races and your own neighborhood offer a variety of summer fun.
  • Make special memories. For as much as we long for summer to come in the winter months, it can be so fleeting. Festivals, camping trips, bike rides or just time in the garden will become a savored memory so quickly. Live each day of the summer with gratefulness and appreciation and remember that come fall, you will miss this unstructured time and the sunshine.