Adding to the stress and burnout levels we normally feel is the fact that for many of us there are no summer activities for our kids. We already had to scramble to home school them for the remainder of the school year, but now the onus is on us to come up with all their summer enrichment activities on our own. This is on top of trying to continue to work remotely, and honestly I wish the teachers would have left them with homework over the summer. But we all know that learning doesn’t have to be painful, and there are plenty of fun activities out there to keep our kids engaged and entertained while we are working over the summer break. Many of them don’t even require convincing your kids.

Start by asking your kids to make their own summer schedules. This gives them a feeling of empowerment and control over their lives. Tell them which activities you expect them to do and let them choose when and how frequently they would like to do them. If they don’t like to do math or programming practice right after breakfast, for example, they are free to schedule it after dinner or in the late afternoon. Make a list of activities and hand them a weekly planner page and have them fill in the rest.

Make sure there is plenty of room for physical activity, free time, gaming, and more. It’s summer, after all, and your kids are more likely to rebel if they are overscheduled. 

Be sure to build both solitary and family activities into the schedule – you may not want to go fishing after dinner or play board games on Friday nights, but those family activities are just as important as reading and physical activity.

Encourage your kids to keep a schedule for sleep and wake times. It’s really easy to let them sleep all day when you are working, but that can lead to more problems when it’s time to go back to school. Maintaining a wake and sleep time can ensure your kids are getting enough rest, which prevents power struggles and meltdowns while you are trying to work.

For younger kids, keeping a daily schedule helps them to understand what will happen next, and there are even apps that can help keep everyone on track with visual reminders.

Many of the activities your kids will be doing this summer can be done online. Even your local library has access to eBooks so you don’t even have to leave your home to check out a new book. Apps like Google Sky and iNaturalist can help your kids learn science topics like astronomy and plant science while disguising themselves as fun activities.

Even games like Monopoly and Yahtzee help kids learn math skills while playing games. There’s no reason to print off a single worksheet this summer to keep your kids engaged.

This is going to be one of the hardest summers for parents, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Learn more about keeping your kids entertained while you work from the infographic below, full of information about home learning.