Teaming up with other parents can help ensure a fun and healthy break
Many area kids are counting the days until Spring Break. Excitement reigns. For parents, however, the reaction can be mixed.
Maybe Spring break means a reprieve from the typical busy week of homework and shuttling between school and activities, but for parents who will clock in at work during Spring Break, kids’ time off can present challenges. How can you ensure a fun and safe Spring Break for your kids amid your busy workweek?
Consider connecting with the parents of your child’s friends to share the responsibility of dropping off and picking up kids from activities. Better yet, if at all possible, try to coordinate with other parents to take a different day off work during the week so you can take turns chaperoning a group of kids. It will spread out the carpooling duties, add a little fun to your week, and help you better connect with other parents and your child’s friends.
Whatever your schedule, here are a few ideas for keeping kids active and engaged during Spring Break. Responsible older kids can chaperone younger siblings if parents are at work. Parents who are home can share these activities with their own kids and their children’s friends.
- Organize a neighborhood soccer, basketball or baseball game.
- Catch a movie.
- Visit a museum or community center. Many community centers also host Spring Break camps and classes.
- Go to a local laser tag or paintball place, or visit an area skate park or rock gym.
- Hit a bucket of golf balls or play a round of golf.
- Explore an area park or hiking trail you’ve never visited.
- Get a jump on Earth Day. Invite friends to help clean up a nearby park, then have a picnic there.
- Volunteer at a local charity or help your child organize their own community service project.
- Check out a local historic site or building.
- Plan a meal or barbecue, shop for groceries and prepare the food. Make it a family dinner or invite the neighbors.
- Head to the mountain to sled, ski or snowboard.
- If your family or neighbors are from another culture or are interested in sharing information about other cultures, consider cooking ethnic food together, sharing a meal and exchanging info about other countries and cultures.
- If you’re the parent of a teen, look into mentoring opportunities for your kids. Older kids develop leadership skills and younger kids spend some time with someone they can look up to.
Whether it’s sports, spending time outdoors, volunteering or engaging in other interests, busy kids have great opportunities to learn and grow. They are less likely to get involved in risky behaviors, too. Research backs this up. The more activities kids are involved with, the less likely they are to use alcohol and other drugs.
And remember, keeping kids busy doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. The value of staying busy is effective regardless of whether an activity carries a price tag. Many activities are inexpensive or even free, such as volunteering, participating in a church youth group or helping organize a neighborhood movie review club.
This article was developed by Lines for Life, a statewide nonprofit that exists to end substance abuse and suicide.
Photo courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation
Originally published in 2011.