My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed. – Proverbs 23:15
Good news. The research results are in and it has now been scientifically proven that family leisure time is important to your child’s mental health! So, stop feeling guilty about not being able to take the kids on an extended vacation or Disney cruise. No need to feel bad if you can’t afford organized sports, summer camps or special private lessons. No regrets if you’re not focused on summer academic programs to give your child a head start on the next school year.
All you need to do to boost your child’s mental health, according to a 2016 study by the National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (Center for Disease Control) is relax, enjoy and spend time playing together!
So, what can you do this summer to boost your child’s mental health and strengthen your family? Here’s a short list of ideas to get you started.
- Go outside and play catch!
- Take a walk on the beach. Jump the waves.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Pack a picnic lunch and go to the park.
- Go to the library and check out books.
- Read together and talk about the stories you’ve read.
- Be sure to include daily Bible reading and follow up conversations.
- Go to free community events.
- Listen to music together and sing or dance along to the tunes.
- Fly a kite.
- Play Frisbee.
- Build something together out of Legos or wood scraps.
- Go camping.
- Cook together and sit down to eat as a family.
- Attend church.
- Volunteer together for church functions.
As summer begins, take a few minutes to sit down together as a family and brainstorm about activities that everyone would enjoy doing. You will find that just spending leisure time together will strengthen your family ties, provide opportunities for you to share your values and beliefs, improve communication and help you get to know each other better.
You don’t have to spend a dime … all that’s needed is your time!