It's finally summer!

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After a very long, cold, and snowy winter, we are more than ready for warm weather, long summer nights, and endless days at the pool or beach.  Summer means breaks from school, more children left home unsupervised and children less likely to receive nutritious well balanced meals. Here are a few tips to ensure the entire family has a fun and safe summer.

Tip 1: Just because school is out does not mean learning stops.  Stop at your local libraries to check out books and daily activities for children, teens, and the entire family.  You can also be creative and play fun educational games with your family. One of my favorites is the math game 99.

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Tip 2: Put the video games down, put the cell phones on silent, turn the televisions off and get out and enjoy our longer days. Whether you choose to ride bikes, play in the front yard, go to the park, beach, or pool, get some fun in the sun. But WAIT! Do not forget to apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outdoors.

Tip 3:  For some of us working parents, summer does not mean that work stops. So if your child is at the age (please check your local laws on leaving children home unsupervised) to be left home alone here are a few tips. According to Scholastic, these tips are important when leaving children at home:

  • Have an emergency plan

  • Always check in

  • Make the phone (almost) off-limits. (Do not answer unknown or unfamiliar calls)

  • Don't leave the house

  • Keep them busy

  • Practice first aid              

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Tip 4: A balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is important all year long. Kids need a balanced diet to fuel their growing brains, muscles and bodies. Activekids has a great chart that will help you with planning a balanced diet for kids. For more information please follow this link

Nutritious free meals are available for children and teens 18 and younger at many locations throughout the nation throughout the summer while school is out of session. For more information and to find a site near you click here.

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Tip 5: During summer break less structured activities and loose schedules create more time for kids to spend around friends; and more possibilities for them to be somewhere there is alcohol and drug usage.  It is important to supervise your children, their activities, and the peers they are hanging around with over summer break.  Making sure that you know your kid’s friends, and communicating with their parents/guardians is a great way to keep kids safe and healthy during the summer months. Talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking and drug usage and help them come up with a safe way out if they find themselves in a situation where this is taking place. Believe it or not…your kids are listening to you!  

Hopefully these tips will help you jump start summer in a safe, nutritious, and fun way. Happy Summer!

Written By:
Jentl Pugh
DREAM After School Program Coordinator

If you are concerned that your child has a problem with alcohol or substance use contact Breaking Free at 630.897.1003 for more information on the services that we provide or to make an appointment for an assessment.