School is out for the summer and everyone is ready for a much needed break.  During the school months, getting children up and out of the house on time, getting homework done, and so on is hectic.  Summer can be a welcomed and valuable break from these struggles, but of course has its own challenges and opportunities.

Summer is a great time for family activities.  It is beneficial to have at least one activity in which family members are together.  Family activities can increase a child’s psychological and behavioral well-being.  Focus on any activity that allows family members to engage with each other.  The activity does not need to be expensive or over the top thrilling to gain the benefit.  Go to a sporting event, a children’s museum, a community fair, or on a picnic.

Benefits from family activities not only stem from the time together, but also establishing something that can become regular.  A break from the rigorous school year routine is definitely needed, however consider making something else in the summer regular and predictable.  Establish something as simple as shopping together, reading each night, or even cooking a meal together routinely in the summer.  This predictable event or routine has enormous benefits to the child and family life, reduces stress, and improves family relationships.

A break in the summer is great all by itself.  National surveys show that children, adolescents, and adults in the U.S. often experience a great deal of stress.  Stress is not just psychological, but can have detrimental biological effects such as making people more vulnerable to illness.  Free time, down time, time together, and just enjoying yourselves are all wonderful to combat stress.