Canadians children may spend weeks in summertime at sleep-away camps in the country or at day camps nearer to home. (CBC)

School’s out, keep the kids busy, advises author

Schools close in June for summer vacation in Canada and younger children often go to day camps that may involve sports, music, computer skills, drama or other activities. Most parents get only two or three weeks of vacation which they can spend with their children, and so, they are keen to find constructive ways to occupy children for the rest of the time.

Doone Estey.

Doone Estey says children and teens should do some chores at home in the summer.


Summer jobs are good for teens, says expert

As teenagers get older, they often are less interested in day camps and experts suggest they take part-time or full-time summer jobs. “They need to be learning how to show up on time and deal with other people, earn some money on their own, learn about taxes and finances and how to manage their money and also to have a sense of responsibility of what it’s going to be like when they grow up showing up at a job every day,” says Doone Estey a Toronto parenting expert and co-author of the book “Raising Great Parents.”

She also says it is a good idea to give children chores around the house that they would not normally do during the school year. They can be involved with meal planning, taking care of pets, yard work and generally helping parents run the home.

Girl looking at cell phone.

In Canada, the average person between the ages of 8 and 18 spends 42 hours a week using media, according to the community education initiative called Screen Smart. (Getty Images)

Limiting screen time can be challenging

Once children and teens are free of school and homework they often spend a great deal of time on TV and their electronic devices. It can be a challenge to try to limit screen time. Estey suggests parents sit down and discuss with their offspring why it is important and how much time is appropriate.

It can also be difficult to determine how much independence a teenager should have, particularly for parents who may come from more conservative cultures. To determine that, Estey says it can be helpful for parents to ask their children what they would do in hypothetical difficult situations to see how well they could handle them. And she says it is best to discuss the issue thoroughly with them.

Parents will have better results if they discuss issues with teens rather than set hard and fast rules, says Doone Estey.

Independence can be a contentious issue

“The best advice is to talk to your kids, see what they want to do and then try to compromise and brainstorm with what you, as the parent, want to do. There needs to be a lot of give and take.

“Otherwise, if the parent says ‘no, I’m going to set the rules, this is what you’re doing,’ and the child decides to rebel, then they’ve lost their authority and the child just kind of goes off the deep end and does what they want.”

Estey notes parents and children can set guidelines together and when they do go out, it is good to have children check in regularly so that parents know they are safe. It is also helpful if youth go out with buddies who can help or at least contact parents if anything goes wrong.

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