Making the Most of Your Summer Vacation

Woo hoo, summer vacation is here! This fills some parents with joy: no homework, no car pools, sleeping late, less stress for both children and parents. The same thought fills some parents with dread: fewer activities, more boredom and sibling rivalry, more stress with trying to keep children busy and safe.

Summer vacation can be both challenging and exhausting, but it also is so much fun. An extended summer vacation provides parents the opportunity to create family memories, new traditions, and valuable bonding time. Hanging out together in pajamas until noon, splashing in a backyard plastic pool, providing children with wonderful camp opportunities, and taking a much appreciated break from the usual schedule are very important to everyone’s mental health.

So take a deep breath, try to find a balance between structured time and free time, and enjoy your children. And to make sure it is a healthy and safe summer, here are some safety tips.

Safety Tips for Babies

* Babies under six months old should avoid direct sunlight and only use tiny amounts of sunscreen if needed. Your baby might need additional fluids, so increase nursing or formula. Water is discouraged for babies under 6 months.
* Older babies can be exposed to sunlight for short periods of time, but use sunscreen generously. You can begin to offer small amounts of water.
* Keep babies in the shade as much as possible, using hats and umbrellas when needed.
* Babies get fussy when they are warm so do not overdress them.
* Do not leave your baby alone near water even for a minute.
* Do not leave your baby in the car alone even for a minute. Put a stuffed animal or the diaper bag on the front passenger seat to remind you that she is in the back seat!

Safety Tips for Toddlers

*Use sunscreen and play in the shade as much as possible.
* Provide calm breaks during their long day of playing.
* Try to be indoors during the hottest hours of the day.
* Do not leave your toddler alone near water even for a minute.
* Touch the slide for heat before allowing your toddler to slide down.
* Teach your toddler to stay away from the BBQ grill even when it is cold.

Safety Tips for Kids

* Insist on sunscreen and offer a hat.
* Offer sports drinks, water, and popsicles.
* Do not call your child a “swimmer” until he truly can swim.
* Teach your kids where they can ride their bikes and to always wear their helmets.
* Have them call you when they arrive at their destination.
* Let them be lazy and have fun – it’s summer vacation!

Safety Tips for Teens

* Encourage sunscreen.
* Remind your teen to take their cell phone with them and to let you know when they change locations.
* If you have a backyard pool, make it a rule that they never swim alone.
* Summer = increased driving time. Continue to enforce your driving rules.
* Understand that summer is a time for your teen to unwind and have fun. But don’t ease up on your family rules and expectations.
* Allow your teen to sleep late sometimes – it’s summer vacation!
* Free time is great, but too much free time can be a problem. A part-time job, volunteer work, and camp experiences are necessary also.