As we are in the full swing of summertime, The Forgotten Initiative reminds us that summer can be a stressful time for any family. Routines have to change. Work schedules are adjusted. Often, we feel even busier with sports and activities.
For some children in foster care, this can be an extra stressful time, as change in routines can spark feelings of insecurity or a lack of safety.
As your family navigates the transition into summer, here are a few reminders:
Give space for big emotions. This is normal and it can be helpful to expect them. Remember to talk through upcoming plans beforehand (and often). "Remember, tomorrow we'll wake up and have breakfast, then we'll go to baseball camp for 2 hours, and have a picnic lunch at the park afterwards. Do you have any questions about tomorrow?
Keep snacks handy. With new rhythms, regular snack times can be a small way to help children feel consistency around food availability.
Have fun! Summer is a great opportunity to make memories together, explore your community, and have fun. Don't forget to enjoy the little moments!
Keep bedtimes generally consistent. Of course, there are many exceptions to this! But being outside more and changing routines can wear us all out. Consistent bedtimes can help us all get the rest we need to be ready for what the next day holds.
Some families may also feel very bored and unsure on how to truly enjoy the summer while connecting with each other, especially with a limited budget. Here are some fun and free/cost effective ideas!
Go bike riding as a family
Have a family talent show
Join a Library Summer Reading Program. There are typically great prizes or experiences for fun incentives
Make a pillow fort
Have a family baking competition
Write letters to family and friends
Play minute-to-win-it games
Camp in your backyard
Volunteer as a family by visiting an elderly neighbor or helping with a charity.
Create a sidewalk chalk mural
Fill water guns with watered down non-toxic paint and spray a canvas or paper
Catch fireflies and stargaze
Check out your community's calendar for free concerts and events
Put together a yard sale
No matter what your family does this summer, the important thing is to be intentional with your time together. You will undoubtedly create long lasting family memories.