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ID Counselor – Busy Kids Equals Less Summer Break Stress for Parents

June 9, 2008

Lewiston, ID – No more teachers, no more books, and time for mom and dad to take a closer look. School summer break is underway, and keeping kids from driving parents crazy takes a little planning.

Lewiston School District elementary school counselor Doug Brandt says that, while there is a lot of talk these days about kids being "overscheduled" during the school year, he's a big believer in keeping them busy during the summer months with day camps, vacation bible schools, sports and swimming lessons.

"Kids are naturally curious. If we don't provide some things for their curiosity to explore, then their curiosity will take them into places we don't necessarily like them to go."

Brandt notes conflicts between kids and parents during the summer tend to focus on what kids are, or are not, doing with their free time, so scheduling activities prevents the problem. He advises parents of teens who are not interested in camps and sports to encourage them to get a job, even if it's just a neighborhood project like lawn mowing.

But, he adds, keeping busy doesn't have to cost a dime for families trying to stretch their dollars. Working side-by-side with kids on household chores, or yard projects, can be high-quality one-on-one time that every family needs.

"Which is something: with our really busy lives, we lose sight of how much time that we actually spend with our kids."

Brandt also teaches local parenting classes with the help of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund.

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - ID