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Soucheray: Now's the time to establish a summer routine

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The summer is nearly here, with only a mere six weeks until the kids are out of school for their three-month break. I can hear the gulp of parents who must take into account a change of schedules and all that this entails. If you have not begun to think about how you will manage these months, time is of the essence.

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Have you signed your kids up for activities? I know you'll say that was done weeks ago. But for those of you who have not put your kids in several camps or activities, there are still many local experiences you can check out.

You could contact the YMCA and find out what they still have available. Also, there are swimming lessons at various locations, the Puppet Wagon in each neighborhood park on a weekly basis, as well as multiple offerings at the library and Central Park. Check out the booklet that arrived in your home last week from the city of Woodbury to learn about activities offered for families, some of them free. If you have misplaced your copy, you can learn more at www.ci.woodbury.mn.us.

The summer months are a time for kids to step back and rejuvenate, and as Elliott Goldberg contends, these months are also a time to have a "mini day-camp" in your home. He suggests that kids have a regular schedule each day, which will provide structure and productivity for them, as well as helping to minimize the incidence of boredom.

The kids may not like this idea, but include a workbook time each day from the grade they have just completed. You can visit several local retailers, as well as sites on-line, for resource materials that will assist you in offering a rich experience that will help your kids to hang on to much of the learning they acquired this school year.

In addition, include a chore chart for each day. A few suggestions include making their beds and straightening their rooms, as well as contributing to the household orderliness by collecting the garbage, unloading the dishwasher or vacuuming high traffic areas. In this way, kids learn that the responsibility for their home is everyone's job, not just the parents' duty.

Setting up a summer routine before the season arrives will help each member of your family - including you - enter into these upcoming months with anticipation and excitement. Additionally, you will likely be sad to see the kids return to school in the fall because you all had so much fun together. So start planning today for the fun you will have during this summer break.

Soucheray is a Woodbury resident and a licensed family therapist

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