Every parent knows that with the much anticipated breaks from school also come the much dreaded words we all hear from the kids. “I’m bored. There is nothing to do around here.” As most parents have experienced, if boredom is not dealt with strategically and successfully, it can quickly turn into a problem. Sibling arguments, laziness, watching TV for hours and hours and so on are issues that arrive and that are issues no parent enjoys facing.
Here are some suggestions to consider as you navigate the break this year.
Implement a strategy where your child can earn points. Points turn into cash, material items, trips and other things that individually motivate your child. It works for children and I’ve even seen teens up to 18 get excited about it if the incentives are right. It works something like this. There are two lists of jobs. One list is a daily/weekly list of regular routine chores that need to be done around the house. Each week chores are successfully completed earns them 300 points. You can give partial points for less than 100% completion. A second list has items that can be done for extra points. This list is one that you build off your own “to-do” list from around the house, around the widow’s house next door, grandma’s house etc. It can include all kinds of items from cleaning out the junk drawer to trimming the hedges to weeding the garden. You decide a fair number of points for each job. Your child can choose which he’d like to do and when he’d like to do them. If you have jobs that arise or that need to be done at a certain time, negotiate points for the job with him like you would a contractor. In all cases, make the points worth it for him. As the weekly and extra points add up, he can trade them in at various levels for smaller rewards or save them for something bigger. Give some extra incentive for when he reaches certain levels. At 2500, he gets to have a friend over. At 4000, bowling with some buddies. These extra incentives don’t have to subtract from the totals. It is a great way to keep him busy and also reward his hard work. (Hint- Points can also be taken away for negative behavior, but use this option sparingly.)
Consider vacation Bible school or sports camps at local churches. At our Victory Sports Camp (see below) there are outdoor activities, instruction in basketball, soccer, and volleyball for 1st-6th graders. There is certainly fun with friends and the blessing of learning about the Bible. You can check with other local churches to learn about other Bible school opportunities during the summer. Make sure though that what is being taught is truly from the Bible. Check websites for the doctrinal statements of the church and what they will be learning that week during the Bible school time. You can read our doctrine statement here and what they will be learning during Bible school here.
Communicate. Make sure you are taking advantage of the extra time with your child. Take them to lunch, take a weekend trip together or binge watch some wholesome Netflix shows from your childhood era. Here is a list of conversation starters you can use with your child if you need them.
Stay involved in a church. Most churches provide some great family activities in the summer. Get involved with a good Bible-believing church that will not only provide great worship opportunities for your family, but a great teen program for your kids. Talk to the youth pastor or children's ministry director if you’re concerned about your child. We would love to have you join us for a service if you don't have a church home. Learn about us here.
Give them time to relax and refresh. School can be hard and students need some time off. Don’t be overly concerned with some sleeping in, video gaming and tv watching. Kids are only young once and most will work the rest of their lives. While a good work ethic is needed, don’t forget to let them be a kid while they can.
Breaks from school don’t have to be as stressful as it may seem. Plan ahead, talk it over with your child and create breaks from school that end up as pleasant memories for everyone involved.