Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

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Source: Family Service Agency (FSA)

Summer break is finally here!  While some families are ready to let loose, others may feel a sense of unease without the structure and safety that the school day provides. Family Relationship Educators at Family Service Agency (FSA) encourage all families to enjoy their time off from school by establishing positive and caring routines for their children.

By using nurturing parenting routines, parents can empower their children by building their sense of consistency, predictability, and success—which in turn enhances their self-esteem. For nurturing routines to work, it is important that parents view them as a partnership where parent and child work together toward a common goal.

“As parents, we tend to want to do everything for the child,” says Family Relationship Educator, Andrea Fuentes. “Instead of expressing the feeling that you are in charge or giving the impression you don’t have time, try offering your child choices and allowing their input.”

Practice gently rubbing your child’s back, getting down to their level, and turning things into a game. Talk softly, have a sense of humor, and praise your child. Say things like “I love that you’re my daughter/son,” and “I really like how you helped today.”

According to Fuentes, nurturing parenting rituals are great for those especially difficult times—chores, dressing, feeding, bathing, and bedtimes. Observe your child and see what they can do to help. Assist them, but let them take the lead. Try breaking down tasks into smaller steps.

Nurturing routines help children develop their autonomy and independence at the same time they learn to cooperate. The whole family benefits when systematic family procedures are established. Routines help children to cooperate because they know what to expect. They help parents because a cooperative child generates less stress than a child who challenges and questions all requests.

Remember to reach out when you need help. Family Service Agency offers parenting and healthy relationship classes several times throughout the year. Visit our website at to learn more.

Family Service Agency (FSA)-Santa Maria Valley Youth & Family Center is a nonprofit social service organization that has served Santa Barbara County since 1899. FSA improves the health and well-being of the community’s most vulnerable children, families, and seniors through their transformative and essential programs: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Senior Services, Family Support Services, Youth & Family Behavioral Health, and School Counseling Services. All services are provided free or on a sliding fee/donation scale and no one is denied assistance because of an inability to pay. Visit or call (805) 965-1001 for more information.


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Flicka Jul 01, 2019 01:26 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

It is a real dilemma for single parents or 2 parents both working. Camps and babysitters are expensive for folks working hard to just get by. I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mother, took the kids to the beach and they spent a lot of time riding their ponies with other neighborhood children. (no, not rich, people gave us ponies, even a couple horses they wanted a good home for) To call parents "lazy" is incredibly rude. Many, if not most, are scrambling to keep their heads above water.

Shasta Guy Jul 01, 2019 12:59 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

I echo that parents do need to be in charge. Parents need to lead and guide because kids don’t grow up the right way in auto pilot. The article was wishy washy in that regard. Be a leader and a role model, not a vague buddy. Of course take input, but use that to add to the structure and direction you plan.

mm1970 Jul 01, 2019 10:05 AM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

This is a good article with some great tips. It can be a challenge dealing with children of all ages, and the old attitude of "I'm the boss, do what I say or else" often ends in misery for everyone. Children need to be given more autonomy and more responsibility as they grow. There's been plenty of research in the last 30-40 years since I was a kid that shows that. I've found tips like these to be incredibly helpful for getting the kids to do their "stuff" with fewer arguments. -------Summer can be a challenge. For the SAHP who now has to occupy their kids 24/7. (This is not normal! During my summers as a kid, I spent a lot of time outdoors, helping in the garden, and helping my neighbor with her laundry. She had a reel to reel washer, and I thought it was awesome! It return, I got oreos.) For the working parents who now have to play "summer camp tetris" and figure out how to get 40 hours of work done when a "full day" at most camps is from 9 to 3:30 pm. Putting kids to work is GREAT, but you have to "get over" the fact that everything will take 3x longer.

Factotum Jun 30, 2019 09:02 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

Hope this recent trend for "solo parenting" is in decline. It is consistently such a negative marker. It does take four times the work to make up for not having a two parent family. Sorry, but what is done is done but let's hope people can make better choices in the future including the absent fathers.

ParvoPup Jun 30, 2019 08:12 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

My parents would rent us out to the local Little Old Ladies (OG LOL BTW) to cut their yards, pick berries for their pies or help move dressers so they could dust.

Didn't make much money but ate a lot of pie.

Factotum Jul 01, 2019 08:23 AM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

Too bad so many now have no sense of community that was created by church affiliations in the past. They formed caring communities with shared values. A few bad apples unfortunately made this important social institution an object of scorn. Within this community, there are plenty of very sound religious institutions that will still create this sense of deeper connections and support. Try a few - and learn which one best fit this crying need for a spiritual home. They have formed the bedrock in many peoples lives for eons - don't reject all of them out of hand. Let your kids check into their summer programs and see if they work for you too.

Luvaduck Jul 01, 2019 07:01 AM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

And performed a necessary task for them. That rarely happens now. The little-old-ladies choice now is DIY or pay a pro or let it go. Many have no family anywhere near which compounds this sad issue.

a-1561947086 Jun 30, 2019 07:11 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

As a single, working parent Summers always gave me anxiety because I had to find fun, affordable and summer like things for my kids to do. Thank goodness for summer programs through parks and rec because I couldn't afford to take time off or be a stay-at-home mom and enjoy playing with my kids. They didn't really talk about that at all, or about how to provide structure to kids during the summer instead of letting them run amok, how to prevent them from eating all the food and staying up all night and trashing your house when they are teens and old enough to stay home while you work all day LOL. There was a lot of info missing from this article!

Shasta Guy Jun 30, 2019 06:57 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

Lots of one on one time: trips to the zoo, hikes, go to the beach, botanical gardens, all points south and north, barbecues + s’mores at our wonderful city parks. Organized things like sports camps, vacation bible school, music camps. Older kids: volunteer to be leaders at sports camps, VBS, Safety Town and etc, part time summer jobs, classes at city college, finish up driver’s ed. Have a lot of fun because there is no repeating this time.

Luvaduck Jul 01, 2019 07:21 AM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

Don't let a "never walked a mile in your moccasins" comment add to what is probably an already stressed out life trying to make ends meet and be everything for everybody. A lot of seniors DO understand how difficult today's parents have it.

Luvaduck Jul 01, 2019 07:08 AM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

Save your breath: This is an issue that one either understands or doesn't. The necessity for both parents to work outside the home in order to survive hasn't always been true, and since moms still do the bulk of the housework/childcare/eldercare, today's women are crazy busy and tired.

Luvaduck Jul 01, 2019 07:04 AM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

There was a time when both parents didn't have to work to just get by. The difference? Currency devaluation, better known as inflation. Disconnected from any hard asset in the 1970's, our currency became a credit card they didn't need to pay off for politicians.

Abc109 Jun 30, 2019 10:31 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

Exactly @realbebe. How about instead of complaining about working single parents, Coastwatch complains about the system that doesn't give us much choice? Do you think this dude who calls us F*#$ing lazy parents has anything to say about the meager four-to-six weeks of maternity leave (sometimes paid, often not) when our babies are newborns? Doubt it. But he's happy to trash us for the next 18 years. Bet he's pro-birth, though. Lots of opinions from the retirees who have ruined the economy, environment and future for their grandkids, though. Well done, CW.

therealbebe Jun 30, 2019 08:30 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

I guess CoastWatch wants all parents take off what amounts to four+ months of breaks every year. But then he would still call you lazy for taking that much time off work. So out of touch.

Abc109 Jun 30, 2019 08:22 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

Operative word here, Coastwatch, is "was." Were you ever a single parent working full-time? I am. I call that doing what I have to do BECAUSE I embrace my child. Not all of us have another person in the home 2-3 months out of the year or have that kind of vacation time. Shame on you for making that a value judgment, and Shame on you for turning a really benign article into some sort of alarmist study of society at large. Things are different now than they were when you were a parent, baby boomers. I'll be damned if I am called lazy by the likes of you.

CoastWatch Jun 30, 2019 11:29 AM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

Wow. What a disappointing article. F^^King "parents, don't want to spend quality time with THEIR children or need to cope with summer... Pretty much sums up our society- sad.

Luvaduck Jul 01, 2019 07:18 AM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

Many if not most would love to spend more time with their kids and home tasks if they could, but both parents have to work & commute so the family can get by. Used-to-be neighborhoods are now "bedroom communities" with almost no adults are around during the day. There aren't neighbor eyes around to provide the safety and supervision that allowed herds of neighbor kids to roam from one backyard to another. Paid childcare has become an expensive necessity--and daytime burglaries are on the rise.

Abc109 Jun 30, 2019 05:32 PM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

That was your takeaway, Coastwatch? What a disappointing response, to "sum up our society" with one article. Influenced much? Are you even a parent?

a-1561914395 Jun 30, 2019 10:06 AM
Tips for Surviving Summer Break With Your Kids

How to survive with kids all summer? Easy - Keep them busy! Too much down & unsupervised time, especially for kids over 10 = potential problems.

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