The pandemic affected everyone as parents and kids weren’t able to socialize with family and friends. The challenges to every American’s social routine was one of the most difficult adjustments adults and children had to make. During that time, socialization moved online increasing the number of messages exponentially. This year though promises to be different, more “back to normal,” and the question on everyone’s mind is “How do parents and kids make up for lost time and stay social over the summer?”
As parent’s know, play and socialization are powerful learning tools for children, helping them develop communication skills, independence, teamwork, leadership, and adaptability. In addition, play and the socialization it provides nurtures kids’ creativity and imagination, teaching them coping skills and self-reliance, and helping them develop the attachments needed to weather life’s challenges. What is sometimes overlooked is that parents need to socialize and connect with other parents to provide the support needed to overcome the challenges of parenting and life in general!
Safe and Social This Summer
As social distancing guidelines have all but disappeared, some parents and children, especially those with younger children, may face greater challenges returning to normal social habits. Parents can help kids with support and encouragement while connecting with like-minded parents to bring kids and parents back together successfully.
A great place to start is with neighborhood kids and school directories. Exchange contact information with parents to easily plan meetups and playdates. You can also book multi-family activities and field trips. Consider getting tickets to a local family event, planning a picnic and game day at the park, enjoying a baseball game together, joining in a walkathon for a good cause, going to a concert, or exploring nearby “tourist” spots. The options are limitless and by planning ahead, you and your kids will have something to look forward to all summer as you gather with friends and family.
Another great way to stay social this summer is by hosting events. You can host a barbeque for your children’s classmates and parents in your backyard, at the local park, at the beach, or even at a community pool. Organize some classic outdoor games (leap-frog, three-legged races, freeze tag, dodgeball, etc.) and have everyone join in the fun. Hosting a neighborhood movie night is another great idea. All you need is a screen (a sheet, a flat wall, or an actual screen), speakers, and a DVD projector. (If you don’t have them, you can rent them for the night at a reasonable cost.) Supply popcorn, sodas, and sweet treats or have your guests bring their own!
Consider summer camp to help your kids stay social this summer! Like Camp Live Oak, most summer camps offer lots of outdoor activities and loads of fun. Choose a summer camp that provides nurturing sessions with lots of active outdoor play designed to develop your child’s self-worth and confidence. As you consider summer camp for your children, it is important to know that American Camp Association (ACA) accredited camps meet and often exceed more than 300 standards of health and safety, programming, staffing, and accountability.
At Camp Live Oak, the ONLY accredited camp in Broward County by the ACA), the mission is to provide opportunities to stay social through active play and learning. Every session, campers leave with greater self-confidence, new found resourcefulness, courage to face life’s challenges, and an enhanced appreciation of the natural world. Camp Live Oak also works in cooperation with Florida’s State Park System for a premium environmental experience with unique opportunities for campers to socialize with new friends as they discover the wonders of nature together.