How New Jersey parents can help kids have fun and safe summer vacation
🏖 Once school is out, how parents can help their kids have a fun and safe summer
🏖 Child Psychiatrist Dr. Stacy Doumas gives ideas for parents to help their kids
🏖 There is a way to balance the fun and educational opportunities for them
In the words of rock legend Alice Cooper, "School's Out for Summer"!
If it isn't yet, it will be soon and when it does, there are some ways that you can make sure the kids have a fun, safe, and education summer vacation.
Dr. Stacy Doumas, Chief of the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Jersey Shore University Medical Center with Hackensack Meridian Health, says it's important to plan ahead and stay organized.
She recommends looking at what your kids might be interested in doing or checking out the local parks and town recreation events, so they have things to look forward to this summer.
It's also important to find opportunities for them to learn.
"For young kids, that might be story time at the library," Doumas said. "For older kids, maybe a book club or just some reading time into their day."
Get some insight from your kids, Doumas explains, and let them express what they want to do.
That could be something like going to soccer camp or art camp.
You also encourage them to take part in more outdoor activities overall.
"Let the kids lead the way on what activities would be important to them," Doumas said. "That doesn't include saying 'okay, I'm going to sleep in all day and play video games', encourage more substance and more outdoor play and things like that."
It's important to let them have some say, Doumas explains, because you want them to have fun and have something to look forward to doing but you also want to help them build social skills.
There's also going to be those days where they want to have friends over this summer, and you'll need to be prepared here as well.
"So when they have those play dates, there's lots of activities for them to do, whether they want to do art or play water balloons or slip-n-slide or ride bikes -- that there's lots of choices for them," Doumas said.
Whatever you have planned, try and include activities that are both fun but educational or find that balance in between for the kids this summer whether it's with their friends or something for the family to do together.
"Sometimes, you want to get right in there and do stuff with your kids," Doumas said. "I think just getting out there and enjoying activities whether it's a hike, a bike ride, a walk, something more active -- a big soccer game or football game in the neighborhood -- just really getting out there and doing those activities."
There will be days where it'll be too hot or somewhere the rains are coming down and you have to find indoor entertainment for the kids.
On those such days, Doumas recommends, "playing board games, painting together, baking something -- it's really about that quality time with family and friends."
There is a way to keep kids unglued and on their phones or playing video games all day and all night too -- keeping them active in outdoor or any stimulating activity.
"By keeping kids active, all of the use of video games and phones and stuff will just naturally decrease if we keep them active and moving," Doumas said. "It's just important to keep them moving."