Expert says how your kids can still have a successful summer in an unusual year

Now that school is out for the summer, parents have to find ways to keep their kids busy without many of the camps and sports they usually do.

Kathy Pritchard from the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine with some important tips to help deal with this unusual summer.

"Start with that structure this amount of time with electronics, this amount of time with the phone however you structure with them," she said. 

If you provide the structure and work in some incentive for the kids, Pritchard, a psychotherapist says, you can be on your way to a successful summer.

"I compare it to adults who go to work. We go to work and get paid, we do our thing - I don't call it bribing I call it smart parenting," she said.

It may be a little tougher these days, but she says get creative and set some ground rules to keep your kids social, whether it is online games or outside.

"You have to sit down with your family and decide how you will work the rules into the family," she said. "Will we allow them to have some play dates or not. I have seen parents go both ways somewhere in the middle."

As parents, she says it's also key to get your kids moving.

"I had a lot of parents say the weather is not great, we have not been outside," Pritchard said. "I remember all the times in elementary school we sent them out. I think that is important because I know a lot of kids do school work, get a break and get on their computer. Parents say they went walking, but I don't think that is enough they need to move. If you are a kid, they have to run, jump and really be active."

By burning energy, it is easier to get to sleep at night, giving you a break from the at home juggling act to take care of yourself and recharge.
"It's harder in the summer time and kids are off-schedule," she said. "But they do need a bed time so you can have some adult time good to keep them on schedule."

While it is important kids enjoy their summer, Pritchard says it's also important to prepare kids their new normal when they go back to school in the fall.

"I know most people have avoided taking the kids to the shopping center because when they go back to school most likely they will be wearing a mask," she said. "So it is good to start practicing that over the summer."