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Stick a fork in me... I am done with virtual learning. I cannot fight with my kids to attend zoom meetings with their class and to complete the eco-system project we're a week late submitting and to read for exactly 45 minutes and to participate in a remote talent show--what does that even meeeeean?

I need relief. My kids need relief. My husband needs relief. We need a break from computers and assignments. We need summer vacation. We need camp.

Alas, many summer camps have already cancelled their programs, and families--including mine--now face a new challenge: figuring out what to do with their kids over the summer.

So how are we going to make the next few months more fun, less tedium? We reached out to Erika Coles, clinical director at the FIU Center for Children and Families, for her tips on how to survive (and thrive) this summer with their kids while staying home.

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1. Maintain a routine. When kids don’t have a routine they can follow, they tend to misbehave more and have more anxiety. For the summer, involve your kids in the process of creating their schedule for the day. It will make them feel empowered, and they will more likely follow the schedule, since they helped to create it. Find some fun activities they can do throughout the day and have them choose which ones they want to do. While the schedule for the day doesn’t have to be jam-packed with activities, make sure that bedtimes and mealtimes are as consistent as possible.

2. Reward positive behavior. Kids need and crave attention. Reward your child with positive praise when you catch them being good by saying things like, “I am so proud of you for cleaning up your room all by yourself.” You should also leverage everyday things like screen time as a reward or give them a small prize for their positive behavior to continue to motivate them.

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3. Limit screen time. All kids have been exposed to significantly more screen time since being in quarantine. Make sure you plan some fun outdoor activities they can do such as bike riding and soccer, and include some creative activities like family game nights, painting, or working on a complex puzzle or Lego set.

4. Stay connected. Take the time to continue to stay connected with others (both your children with their friends and you with other parents, family and friends). You can schedule virtual play dates or do a drive-by visit to friends and family.

5. Incorporate academic time. Help prevent summer learning loss by infusing some fun academic activities like reading and online activities from local museums. The Children’s Trust is offering tons of free fun activities and support for families on their Stay Home Miami website.

6. Get help. The last few months have been a whirlwind for most families, and everyone has been doing their best to stay afloat. Most families haven’t processed how the coronavirus has impacted their mental health and will continue to do so. Take some time over the summer to check in on your mental health and seek support for you and your child if you need it. It could be anything from helping you to manage your child’s behavior at home to helping manage your child’s worries and fears.

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2. Home School Project: Reviving Letter Writing

This is not a sponsored post. Tips courtesy of FIU Center for Children and Families

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