Summer Camps Cancelled. Now What?

As if the COVID-19 and Coronavirus pandemic hadn't inflicted enough pain and suffering on parents these past two months, this week brings the most unwelcome yet not surprising news that summer camps for 2020 are also cancelled. So after all of the sacrifices, cramped living, distance learning and too many meals together, the next phase of surviving the pandemic begins. Human beings are a resilient bunch, having survived and overcome major crises over the centuries, and we'll get through this as well. As encouraging news hits the wires about progress on a vaccine, there appears to be a distant light at the end of a long, long tunnel. So how do we get from here to the end of the tunnel? I recall a silly game we played as kids road tripping up to Vermont from our home near New York City, where we held our breath while passing under an overpass or through a tunnel. Fortunately the overpasses on route 91 were short, but there won't be any breath holding while we pass through this darkness. The current hope is that we get much closer to 'normalcy' by Labor day of 2020, but one's definition of 'normalcy' will differ, and who know what set-back lie ahead. So, the key questions are: what is normalcy, how do I get there and how long will it take? And most pressing, how does our family navigate this time of grave uncertainty? While none of can predict what the new normal will be and how long it will take, we can do our best to survive. So here goes, the tips on helping you an your family survive the summer during COVID.

Stay Healthy

I might sound trivial and obvious, but as data trickles in suggesting we maybe slowly dialing down the spread rate, the truth remains that the virus is still among us, people are still getting sick, and you really don't want to get the virus now after all of the hard work you've done these past 2 months. So resist some of the potentially misleading information you're reading online and stay vigilant by continuing to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and pack plenty of sanitizer. If your teenager is dying to get out and hang with their friends as mine are, then set-up a driveway or back yard meeting up with a friend whose family has been following the rules. Vector infection risk is very low if you limit only exposure to like-minded individuals. For the grown-up in your house, dial back the alcohol use and dial up the meditation, quality sleep and exercise.

  • Wash hands
  • Wear a Mask, socially distance
  • Eat healthy
  • Get sleep
  • Exercise

Stay Creative

You have no doubt taught your child how to play Rummikub and Texas hold-em poker by now, so keep up the good work! Maybe you watched the fantastic Michael Jordan documentary to show your kids what basketball was like in the 90's, but don't count on baseball or golf broadcasts to get you through to the Fall. There are lots of online education option available for kids online now, and you should take advantage. Check with your school or school district to see what options are available and take advantage of them. Whether it is online writing class or beginner guitar lessons, your child will engage with the right attitude and help and motivation from Mom and Dad.

  • Music lessons/practice instruments
  • Play game
  • Draw or paint
  • Stream Educational Documentaries

Stay Busy

There are plenty of at-home activities for kids that will help keep them occupied and learning. Baking, craft, meal preparation cleaning and other house projects are generally things kids don't like to do, but with a little help and encouragement from Mom and Dad, they might get to enjoy it! Using your time wisely is a great lesson to help reinforce with you kids this summer. Even if they don't have as much fun as they normally would under normal circumstances, don't let this opportunity go to waster. it will serve them well as they age into adulthood.

  • Meal and Dinner Prep
  • Baking
  • House Projects
  • Read more books

Learn new Skills

This pandemic has forced all of us to learn new skills and be resourceful, and you can fine-tune that thinking this summer. Maybe once or twice a week you skip the after dinner Netflix session and paint a picture, try out some new photo setting on you smart phone, write a letter to your future self or meditate.

  • Writing workshops
  • Computer Training
  • Certifications
  • Photography & video apps and software

Plan Ahead

You aren't going to stay inside all summer, but neither is anyone else. Chances are you live near a lake or the ocean, but you'll need to plan ahead and do some research before heading to the beach. Check with other families in you community who have been social distancing and see if you can set-up an outing where your kids can follow the rules and stay safe. You should also keep daily tabs on National Parks and State Parks websites as they begin to reopen for the summer. You can also check into local youth volunteering opportunities to strength your child's resume as they get ready for college applications.

  • Hikes and Camping Trips
  • Beach Outings
  • Volunteering Opportunities

Mind over Matter

It will be hard to avoid feeling a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) staying mostly at home this summer, but don't forget everyone else is in the same boat. No other families will be doing what they normally do, and if you keep reminding yourself of that, you can focus on what you can control rather what you cannot. For you an your family this means staying focused, supporting each other, learning new skills and improving yourself.

  • Don't get Distracted my misinformation
  • Don't cave to Herd Mentality
  • Find a Reliable Local News Source and Stick With it

Don't waste this opportunity to do something as a family you've always wished you had the time to do but never did. Now you have the time. Whether you write your first novel (or second), start a blog, take a class or create a podcast, now is your chance. Don't blow it!

 

7 Signs Your Kids Are Ready For Sports

You may think your kids are ready for organized sports, especially when so many of their peers are signing up. But many young kids don’t develop the physical, emotional, or mental skills it takes to compete until second or third grade.

Kids who start too soon may end up feeling frustrated or humiliated, or suffering physical injuries. Most experts agree that 6 is the youngest age to start playing organized sports, and many recommend waiting until your kids are 8. But kids develop at different times, so readiness depends more on their size, skill and maturity than on age.

To make sure you’re not jumping the gun, look for the following signs before considering sports for your kids. They will be ready for sports when they:

1. Show an interest in sports. There’s no reason to push your kids into team sports if they have no desire to play. In fact, forcing them can make them resent all organized sports. So if your kids aren’t ready yet, let them run around outside with their friends; it will give them the exercise they need until they find sports they’d like to try.

2. Are strong and skilled. If your kids are smaller and weaker than their peers, or if they can’t throw, bat or catch very well, they’ll be at a huge disadvantage. They’ll also be more likely to get injured. Before you send them onto the field to compete with kids who are naturally more able, spend another year practicing with them in the backyard so they can build their physical strength and skill.

3. Can understand and follow directions. Processing and acting on information from multiple sources -- coaches, parents, teammates and bossy siblings -- is a real challenge for many young kids. Most won’t have that ability until they are 6 or 7, at the earliest.

4. Focus on an activity for two hours. When you see young kids picking weeds or staring up at the clouds during practice, you know they don’t have the attention span to stick with an entire game. The ability to sustain focus comes with age, not experience, so it’s better to wait until your kids mature.

5. Get the concept of teamwork and taking turns. Playing organized sports means sharing the spotlight and giving everyone their turn at bat. Hogging the ball -- and everyone’s time and attention -- won’t make your kids very popular.

6. Get along with other kids. If your kids have trouble navigating social situations or working in a group at school, they’ll have an especially tough time with the dynamics and competitive nature of a team. Give them more time to build up those skills off the field.

7. Can handle losing without losing it. Winning is easy; losing can be devastating. If your kids tend to cry or get angry when they lose at sports or board games at home, they are probably not ready for a graceful defeat in public.

Organized sports are a great learning experience and an excellent way for kids to stay fit -- but they’re also supposed to be fun. Your kids will enjoy themselves more when they’re ready for it. Please visit the Presidential Fitness website for more information

Help Your Kids Manage Stress

If you think your kids can’t pick up on your stress, think again. The 2010 Stress in America survey by the American Psychological Association shows that nine out of 10 children ages 8 to 17 can tell when their parents are upset. Yet more than two-thirds of parents think their stress has little or no impact on their kids. That disconnect means more kids are living with stress -- without learning how to manage it.

“Children say they know when their parents are stressed because they yell more, argue with other people in the household, and complain,” says Dr. Mary Alvord, a family psychologist who contributed to the survey. While you may not be able to remove the cause of stress, you can reduce its negative effects on your kids by taking these 5 simple steps:

1. Be open and honest.
Tell your kids what’s happening and why you are anxious -- whether it’s money problems, job insecurity, or illness in the family. “Often kids overhear or pick up on things. If it isn’t discussed, it’s left to their imaginations,” says Alvord. Just make sure you discuss it at a level they can understand.

2. Present a plan of action.
You don’t need to come up with a solution, only a next step. Tell your kids that you’re looking for a better job, or that you’ll work together as a family to cut down on expenses. If Grandma is too sick for them to visit, tell them you’ll bring their get-better letters and drawings when you go to the hospital.

3. Identify your most stressful time.
If you get particularly tense in the morning while you’re trying to get everyone out of the house, or in the evening, when you’re trying to get dinner ready after a long day, take steps to make those times less anxiety-producing. Cook and freeze meals in advance, have your spouse handle the morning rush, or get more things ready the night before. It’s easier to manage stress when you know when you’re must vulnerable to it.

4. Welcome other people.
No matter what’s going on in your life, it’s always easier to handle setbacks with the support of others. The same goes for kids too. So bring people into your lives instead of shutting them out when times are tough. Socializing and talking to others helps diffuse anxious feelings. It’s important for kids to know that they aren’t alone.

5. Plan for fun too.
If you want to reduce your family stress, shift the focus from problems to pleasure. Start a regular movie night, go out for ice cream on a school night, or plan a short road trip. By taking action, you show your kids that there are positive steps and choices they can make that will replace feelings of stress with feelings of happiness.

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