Use Summer to Renew Mind and Body!
● By Sandy Kauten
Celebrate and prepare: The end of a school year offers a good chance to celebrate successes and identify opportunities. Take time for both, separately. Set some goals for the next year and use the summer to gear-up. This is a good time to get some extra math practice or become more comfortable with reading.
Avoid the ‘summer slide’: Help your youngster stay in the habit of reading. This is also a great time to take advantage of special summertime programming at your local library. The Eugene and Springfield Public Libraries offer a wide range of free and low-cost options to keep kids’ minds spinning.
Limit screen time: There’s no question that kids love their screens – and not all screen time is bad: Consider what sort of activity your child is engaging in. If it’s passive consumption, limit it. If it’s creative or collaborative, allow more time. But in any case, summer is a great time to get kids off their screens and into real-time fun. Be sure to check out the 1PASS offered by Willamalane (you don’t need to live in-district to buy one). $55 gets youth access to 15 popular activities and unlimited bus rides on LTD. Learn more at willamalane.org/1pass/.
Get outside: Physical literacy and time outdoors is good for the body and the brain – and it’s just plain fun! We’re lucky to live in a community with great bike paths, public pools and plenty of parks. Take advantage of them or get off the pavement and discover the Ridgeline trail system, Mt. Pisgah paths up the mountain or around the base, Dorris Ranch in Springfield, and many more. You can even get to some of these by taking the bus! (Go to ltd.org.)
Check in on check-ups: Most health insurance includes an annual well child check-up. This doctor’s visit will make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date and will also provide you with the documentation needed for summer camps and sports. Your provider will also check in on mental and physical health. Getting a check-up taken care of during the summer helps reduce absences during school, too.
Eat well: If your child or a child you know receives free and reduced lunch during the summer, there are free lunch programs at schools, parks and community centers located throughout Lane County. Visit https://www.summerfoodoregon.org/ or https://foodforlanecounty.org/.
Summertime can also be stressful! With less structure and just as many adult commitments, like work and chores, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by children’s needs. While it’s good to keep kids engaged, it’s also okay to allow them to play on their own. Kids need down time and time to explore and play at their own pace -– and adults do too.