Who doesn’t love summer? The world is so much better connected now in the 21st century that there is almost no excuse for the summer boredom episodes that many of us experienced as children during our summer breaks. There are a plethora of activities, outings, festivals, events, concerts, museums, libraries, camps, parks, you name it that we can all take advantage if we make plans with our children each week of summer. We can find out about all these events with a couple swipes of our cell phones. The hard part is making the decision to follow through. Too many times in my office I listen to kids talking about how they wanted to go camping, to the park, to the pool, etc. but mom or dad was too busy or not engaged enough to make it happen. DON’T BE THAT DAD! The following are some strategies that are free or minimally priced that can be a great starting point for cultivating an exciting summer routine for you and your child!
1. Plan a once a week summer movie night.
Depending on your situation this could be anywhere from hanging out in your living room and popping popcorn, to checking out community parks and recreation for free outdoor movie nights, to going out to the movies [matinees are usually a bit more budget friendly].
You may want to spend 5-15 minutes after the movie discussing major themes. What did the director want us to see or learn from the film? How was the acting? Were there any themes that connect with real life in the movie?
2. Search for all the local/state/national parks within a reasonable driving distance.
There are many parks near you that you can access for free. Simply type in your search engine of choice or in your GPS app [e.g. Waze] “State Parks Near Me”. You may also want to visit national parks [website at nps.gov.]. Discuss with family and identify 2 parks you want to visit throughout the summer and mark it on your calendar.
3. Visit your local library.
Did you know your local library not only has books but also dvds, classes, book signings, etc and best of all it is FREE. Make visiting a library a regular part of father and child time and make it a goal to read a book or two together for the summer. Reward your child after each book is finished to celebrate the accomplishment and discuss the book.
4. Weekend beach/lake outings.
If you are fortunate enough to live close to the ocean then take advantage and go for monthly beach outings because all you need is some towels, a bathing suit, drinks, toys, and a good book. ! If you are too far from a beach then consider a nearby lake with a shore to lounge around on and spend some quality time catching some rays and dipping in the cool water. Pack a lunch together with your child and make a picnic of it while you’re at it!
5. Volunteer together.
“Teach your child the importance of helping others”
Just search through the internet to find opportunities to serve. The local United Way is a great place to start and will usually have a calendar of events to participate in. Talk with your kids about what they most would like to do to help others and search for those opportunities. Also, don’t make it just a one-time event to make a deal with your child that you can do this at least monthly or quarterly. This will be a great way to cultivate meaning with your child and help them obtain a better sense of service and kindness to others.
Also see: All Pro Dad
Always remember to tell your child (and yourself) the following each day:
- Believe in yourself
- Love yourself
- You were born for special reasons
- Look for ways to help others today
- Your primary purpose is to discover what your unique talents are (that no one else in the world has)
Dr. Gerald Brown is a psychotherapist and parenting coach practicing in Statesville and Cornelius, North Carolina. He is within a short travel distance from Davidson, Morrisville, Huntersville, and North Charlotte.
If you would like to learn more you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click send.