According to a Harvard Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and a practicing doctor at Boston Children's Hospital, children shouldn't be too overscheduled during their summer vacations. Dr. Claire McCarthy shared her thoughts on summer break and the benefits of letting kids be kids and sometimes doing nothing.
Summer vacation has slowly evolved from carefree play outside and movie marathons to carefully structured day camps, music classes, sports, tutoring sessions and more. This has a bit to do with the fact that a majority of families have two working parents and need these activities for child care. Alternatively, parents who stay home with their children may be feeling the pressure to keep their kids in activities to keep them active and learning.
Dr. McCarthy wants parents to know the important of allowng summer free time. It is a conundrum but keeping kids in structured time and rules a majority of the time will stunt creativity. Kids need to be bored. Out of boredom comes creativity and creativity is crucial for healthy childhood development.
This informative article was published on Harvard Health which is a great guide for all parents. This specific recommendation is rooted in getting back to the summers of the past. Before the internet and before the cops were called on kids walking to park.
Like most things, it comes down to balance. An activity a few days a week is different from keeping you kids scheduled every day out of the week. That is of course if you can manage it. If you can't, make sure your kids have plenty of downtime when they're home and not out and about. If all it is, is one day a week sleep in for your child and watch a movie, then let it happen.
We only have 18 summers with our kids so we need to make it count. We want them to remember summer fun and taking a break from school before heading back.
What kind of summers do you prefer? Lazy, scheduled or somewhere in between? Let us know what works for you and your family!