Are you looking for fun, inexpensive and constructive activities for you and your family? If so, you're in luck! Parenting expert Amy McCready joined me recently to discuss simple ways you and your family can have a great summer!
Candace Rose: Summer can be a very stressful time for families. What can they do to ensure they have a stressfree summer?
Amy McCready: "Well, I think, Candace, money is a big stressor for a lot of families, so I say create a summer budget and stick to it. Expenses for food and travel and entertainment- even getting into swimming facilities can really add up. But fortunately with a little creativity and research you can also find a lot of activities and events that your family can do for free, so that's the first thing.
The other thing I really recommend is that you create a summer contract with your kids. And the contract is great because it defines what your kids will be responsible for over the summer. It can include their bedtime; maybe they have a summer reading project that they have for school- all of that can be included in the summer contract, so parents and kids are on the same page and you don't have to do a lot of nagging and reminding your kids all during the summer."
Candace Rose: And for so many of us our pets are a huge part of our family. What are some ways they can enjoy the summer along with us?
Amy McCready: "Well, you're right- pets are such an important part, and actually that's a great opportunity for your kids to contribute. Add that to the summer contract, that they are responsible for taking care of the pets because daily playtime (the experts tell us) is so important for younger pets, for enhancing their brain development, and for slowing down the aging process in older pets- and toys are a big part of that. Toys contribute to their physical, their mental and psychological well being. In fact PetSmart and Toys"R"Us just teamed up to create a great line of toys for pets of all ages. So you can find those at a PetSmart store or online at PetSmart.com. But definitely check out the toy chest aisle for that. But that's something that you could have your kids doing on a daily basis. It gives them an opportunity to contribute, and of course your pets will just love it."
Candace Rose: Do you have any vacation suggestions for families who enjoy going to the beach?
Amy McCready: "Yes, in fact the beach is more popular than ever. The new global study by Expedia called the Flip Flop report that says that '52% of us say that we're going to visit the beach in the 12 months compared to 45% that took a beach vacation last year'. So everybody is going to the beach, but fortunately there's enough sand to go around for everyone. You can check out the Expedia summer sale- it's the largest in the company's history, and it features hotel deals up to 35% off, so that's another opportunity to really get your kids involved in your summer planning. Let them research hotels and activities, and things to do. Let them know what your budget is so they learn how to work within a budget. So these are all ways that the kids can feel more invested in your family plans, and mom and dad don't have to do all the heavy lifting."
Candace Rose: You also say to keep safety at the top of your list. Can you tell us more about that?
Amy McCready: "That is important, because I think over the summer those lazy days sometimes give us the opportunity to let our guard down. But as your kids are out swimming and having all of their outdoor adventures, that also can mean sunburn, heat exhaustion, lyme disease, so we really have to keep safety top of mind and make sure we've considered all of our elements before heading outdoors and on vacation."
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
Amy McCready: "Weoo, I think another really important thing is to be aware of not overscheduling your kids this summer. Camps and activities are great, but sometimes just sleeping in late (if a parent is at home) or going for a walk or a bike ride; watching movies together- that can be so much more enjoyable than rushing from point A to point B feeling like you're on the go all the time. A nice balance between balance and activities is really best for kids."
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Amy McCready: "Well, for more information on everything we've talked about, you can go to News2Know.com."
Candace Rose: Where can viewers go for more information on you, Amy?
Amy McCready: "They can go to PositiveParentingSolutions.com for more information on all sorts of positive tools and strategies."