Beating the summer blues

“School’s out and I’m bored.” Sound familiar in your family?

Today’s parents are challenged in child raising in a new way, quite different from parents of yesteryear when almost all play was in the natural outdoors and friendly environment. It was difficult to get children to come in at night.

Caymanian friends tell me of growing up with long summer days spent at Smith Cove swimming, taking adventure expeditions like kayaking at Bio Bay at Rum Point, fishing, crab hunting and hanging out and having fun.

Safety and security, not of much concern back then, created an environment of healthy, outdoor play and parents got a much-needed break.

Things are no longer the same and today’s parents spend much of their time getting children to and from scheduled activities, a source of stress in their already busy lives. Parents seem challenged with finding ways to keep children entertained.

A commonly heard complaint with young people, not long into summer break is, “I’m bored.” So accustomed are they becoming to stimulation, that summer time without pressures and schedules is difficult to manage and teens in particular are not sure what to do with time. Some find themselves eating more, moping around the house in a state of slight boredom, depression and disgruntlement.

Encouraging your children and teens to get active and involved with each other over the summer will help take the pressure off parents. Arrange a basketball game, an outing to the movies, a beach day or bike competition and limit the amount of time children spend in front of the television and computer.

Research shows a definite link to the increase in weight problems and depression to the amount of time children spend at the computer or in front of the TV. Encourage children to live life, not watch it.

Finding creative and meaningful things to do is character building – teach your children not to rely on you for keeping their summer entertaining. Keeping a sense of play and fun is health enhancing for everybody, so as parents, take time to have fun yourself. Cayman offers many easy and no-cost and low-cost options for play.

Have a happy and healthy summer.

Donna Mitchell is a lifestyle consultant specialising in weight management and self-help. She can be contacted on [email protected]