Saturday, June 13, 2009

Schools Out, Now What?

Summer vacation starts with high expectations for fun, relaxation and more together time. In addition, many of the families I counsel want to shed any bad eating or lack of exercise habits that were ingrained over the long, cold Michigan winter. My best advice to them is to hold a family conference and have each family member brainstorm all of the activities they want to do this summer and any personal goals they want to achieve. Break down everyone’s ideas into a list of one time, weekly and daily events. For example:

Daily activities are a good area to address overall health improvements and it can be interactive. For example, younger kids can pick out new fruits and vegetables from the Farmer’s Markets and older ones can source new recipes for the family to try using the fresh ingredients. Next, ask each family member to choose one or two new activities that they have never done before. This is a memory maker and also builds self esteem and character. The new activity might range from running a 5K race, kayaking or entering a sand castle building contest at the annual Grand Haven competition.

Finally, when everyone’s brain is stormed out plug all of your events onto a calendar. Try to space out all of the events so that the last few weeks before school starts are downtimes. This last and final step is an important one because in the absence of a plan you’ll be celebrating the Fourth of July before you know it. You will be watching the fireworks explode wondering how on earth you’re going to fit everything in before Labor Day and still feel rested!

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