The Summer Parenting Challenge
by Brandie Heiseler, Director
For most children, just the word “summer” conjures up freedom and adventure. For months most kids have been counting the days until the summer break. The school year is ended, the possibilities are endless, and happiness is just around the corner! Or not.
A few days into summer causes many kids to miss socializing with their school friends and, with nothing particularly interesting planned, they realize they’re bored and this just might be the Worst. Summer. Ever. – and it’s their parents’ fault! What is sure to follow is mutually-assured misery.
But wait! It doesn’t have to be that way. With a little listening and planning you can keep your child busy and entertained during school breaks and they’ll love you for it.
Where to Start
Children thrive with structure, not a plan for every moment, just an overall framework or schedule of activities, even down time. As the mother of a 9-year old daughter and a 5-year old son, I know filling up a child’s calendar with constant interesting things to do is difficult, especially for those who work. Here’s where partnering with your child development center can be a big help, even if your child is only enrolled part time or on specific days.
Let me describe the approach we take at Watch Me Grow to designing a rewarding summer for our students. What’s special about summers at Watch Me Grow is our very successful Summer Camp program for children age 6 to 12 years old.
Safety First and Always
For young children changing environments presents a need to go over the rules and routines that keep them safe. It also calls for parents at home and teachers at school to review their environments for hazards and reconsider the rules and restrictions that keep the child from harm.
At Watch Me Grow, we refresh our safety training and emergency plans for the staff and we review and improve our policies and procedures. We also spend time with each child familiarizing them with the rules and how to be safe in our environment. We even spend some time talking about being respectful to teachers and fellow students to facilitate their social growth and minimize conflict.
Special Summer Activities at Watch Me Grow
Variety is the spice of life for children, too. We offer a variety of activities to keep the kids engaged and active. We set the stage for them to explore new things and be creative. We teach them games to play with their new friends and various arts and crafts. We get many new students during the summer and we make getting to know and interacting with other children part of the summer fun and social development.
Watch Me Grow Offers Field Trips, Too!
One of the best and most exciting learning opportunities for any child is visiting new places to do new things. That’s why we include, on average, four field trips a week for our summer camp participants. We provide transportation in our own vans along with breakfast, lunch and snacks in the cost of the camp.
Field trips start with a refresher on the various safety rules with the children in a big group meeting. Safety is even a bigger concern when we’re out in the community and leave our very controlled environment at the Center. After the first few field trips we prepare one of the students to give the safety briefing because the kids seem to listen better and take more ownership for following the rules.
What do we do? Of course, the staff knows many of the great attractions and play spots in the North Las Vegas area, but we ask the kids what they’ve done with their parents that was fun and places they’d like to go. They often suggest a visit to a pool to cool off or a trip to a park to play in the kids area. We add to that our local museum, roller-skating, bowling, and other safe and fun attractions/community partners.
Flexible Scheduling and Sign Ups
The Summer Camp here at Watch Me Grow Child Development Center is set up to include our five-day a week kids and our drop ins. Let us help fill your child’s summer with engaging, entertaining and educational experiences. Talk to us about our Summer Camp schedule and sign up in person or on our website for the experiences you want for your child, and we’ll do the rest to make your summer and your child’s vacation from school a memorable experience!
This article brought to you by the professional childcare staff of the Watch Me Grow Child Development Center of North Las Vegas. www.watchmegrowlv.com, (702) 675-8460, 4095 West Craig Road North Las Vegas, NV 89032