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Summer is here. The days are longer and kids are home from school all day, every day. It can be very hard for parents to get readjusted to the new schedule of having kids home all day. We often get wrapped up in our own schedules and forget that it can be hard for kids to adjust too, perhaps even harder than it is for us.
Most kids benefit from routine, so when they get thrust into an unstructured summertime schedule, with later bedtimes and perhaps later wake-up times. Instead of each kid having their own unique routine of their classroom, now kids and parents have to combine schedules to find a balance for everyone. It's not easy.
I hate to admit it, but I have actually been really bad with remembering how important it is for me to make time for my kids. I mean I don't ignore them, of course, but in my daily cleaning and chores, I often forget to make one on one time just to play and have fun, and make real time for them to set the pace.
Voice of Play has been so helpful for me. Their PLAYful Trends list is a really great tool for me to plan for play. There are 8 trends, and they are all so simple. I kind of felt bad at first, because I really should not need a list to tell me these things, but I am working on doing better, and I think that's what matters.
Trend number one is "an hour a day". It's so simple, right? An hour of play is so beneficial for children's development. It actually helps them learn. That's why so many parents are fighting to get recess back in schools and to keep it for good. I strongly believe in the cause, that's why I took the Play Pledge. I will also be setting aside an hour a day specifically for playtime.
I will be using this hour mostly with trends 2 ("Made to Move") and 4 ("it's better outside"). We will be outside and active on the trampoline, playground, beach, and more. There are so many fun and free things to do outdoors.
Of course, I will encourage my kids to play much more than an hour a day, and I will play with them as often as I am able. I really like trend 8 for when I can't be one on one with them. Trend 8 is "mind expanding" which is with computers and STEM games.
Technology (screen time) is often looked down on by "perfect parents", but it is so beneficial for learning while having fun. My son, being autistic, especially benefits from playing(learning) at his own pace and controlling the speed at which he is fed information. His can be overstimulated if too much is being pushed at him all at once.
No matter which PLAYful trend(s) you try, it is important to make time to play with your children and encourage creative, athletic or educational play. Just being "on vacation" is not really fun for kids, and it took me awhile to realize that. I hope that Voice of Play's PLAYful Trends will help others like they have helped me. Happy playing.