Dear RezilientKidz Team,

My kids are so ready for the school year to end (and to be honest, so am I). Do you have any recommendations to help us really start our summer right?


What a great question! Summer should be a time of refreshment and rejuvenation for both kids and parents. Those are most likely to occur if you take a few moments to plan things out. I would encourage you to 1) think about how you could close out the school year well, and 2) consider what you want your family’s summer to look like.

Finishing the school year strong will help set a good tone for the vacation months. Talk with your kids about the importance of doing their best from start to finish (a life habit that will serve them well in years to come) and let them know this includes school. You can provide valuable support by safeguarding their schedule and making sure they have sufficient time and energy to devote to studies and schoolwork. Helping them to eat well and get plenty of rest going into the last weeks of school will also be a great service to them and you. After all, you don’t want your family to begin the summer feeling stressed and exhausted.

Now think about summer itself. It can be easy to be unintentional about this season, but a little bit of planning can yield incredible benefits. Jot down some realistic goals for the summer. Do you want to connect in deeper ways as a family? How about doing something to promote a physically healthy lifestyle? What about building new friendships? Do you want your children to have enriching experiences and gain new insights? Are there one or two of the 40 Developmental Assets that you would like to focus on during your Summer break?

Next, think creatively about specific, enjoyable things your family can do to move toward those goals. Does that include traveling and seeing parts of the state or the country that you haven’t explored before? What local attractions can you enjoy together as a family? Maybe you want to work on Asset #9: Service to Others. Gather the family and brainstorm ideas. Could you volunteer at a local food bank, mow or weed a neighbor’s yard or help a family member with a project you know they’ve been wanting to complete? Consider also some activities that your children might do separately, like attending a summer camp. Whatever you settle on, make sure you choose at least one thing that would appeal to each person in your family. The idea isn’t to plan a million things and go nuts trying to do them all, but to just do those things that are important or meaningful.

Another thing you might wish to think about is just how active your family should be. What amount of time should your children be allowed to just stay inside and relax, and how much time should they be outside and playing? Don’t stay so busy that you ignore the importance of Asset #20: Time at Home. Quality time at home is important in a time where it may be easiest to just let them hang out with friends without any real plans. How much indoor time should be allowed for TV, video games, and other screen time activities, and how much should be devoted to other pursuits (like reading, playing games, and the like)? And just because school is out doesn’t mean that we should overlook the importance of Reading for Pleasure: Asset #25. The idea, again, is not to run your kids ragged but to instill healthy habits and avoid the likelihood of them becoming couch potatoes or passive consumers of screen-based media.

With a little forethought, your family’s summer can be fun, relaxing, and meaningful. Enjoy!