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4 Summer Activities to Teach Kids Independence

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4 Summer Activities to Teach Kids Independence

As a parent, you have a long list of responsibilities when it comes to your children’s upbringing.

You’re tasked with teaching them just about everything from basic life skills to social etiquette.

One of the most important underlying lessons you can teach your kids is how to be independent.

Teaching independence requires a bunch of different lessons that convey the same general concept.

Basically, you want your kids to be able to take care of themselves. Being able to problem solve, think rationally, and complete essential tasks is key to their success as future adults.

Many important lessons about independence are taught in the classroom.

However, long summer months might make it feel as though your kids are forgetting everything they’ve learned.

Fortunately, the following summer activities can help you continue their instruction in independence all year long.

1. Summer Camp

Every summer, there are likely dozens of different camps happening in your area.

Summer camps encompass everything from sports to music, art, and just literal camping. Search online, and you should be able to find a local camp that is suited to your child’s needs and desires.

Summer camps are known for being well staffed with chaperones and instructors.

Your children will be properly taken care of, but they’ll learn to be independent without you by their side.

Camp will help them develop important social skills and learn how to achieve things on their own. If ever there is a need, a capable adult will always be standing by to help.

Even with all of the supervision, parents might feel wary about sending their kids off for an extended period of time.

If this is the case for you, consider buying your camper a summer gift in the form of a smartwatch. A kids smartwatch can easily be worn at camp and comes with communication capabilities to keep them connected to home at any time.

2. Reading Programs

A favorite summer memory for many Millennials is the Pizza Hut summer reading program.

By reading a certain amount of books throughout the summer, kids could earn coupons for free prizes, including — of course — pizza.

It was fun to develop a love for reading while simultaneously being able to enjoy a summer treat.

Sadly, reading rates are decreasing across all childhood age groups in the U.S.

While there are reading programs still active today, not as many families are taking advantage of them.

You can change that in your home. If no sponsored reading program is available in your area, you can devise one with appropriate rewards on your own.

Reading programs are beneficial for numerous reasons beyond the obvious one of promoting literacy.

The pursuit of reading goals is a great way to foster independence. In order to earn program rewards, kids need to set a reading goal and execute a plan to reach it.

Part of that plan involves selecting books, which allows them to develop and explore their own interests.

Goal-setting is a valuable skill for just about everything in life. If your kids can start doing that on their own through a summer of reading, they’ll be in great shape.

3. Gardening

If you have the space for it, a small garden is a great way to teach your kids both responsibility and independence.

Kids can be instructed to care for a single plant or a small plot. It will be up to them to cultivate their little garden throughout the summer.

They might tend beautiful flowers or grow vegetables that can contribute to family meals.

Taking care of a single plant doesn’t require tremendous effort. However, it requires your child to be intentional about their actions and to independently plan for the plant’s care.

They will have to learn how to follow a routine and take additional steps as necessary to keep their botanical buddy flourishing.

Gardening can be a stepping-stone for your kids to receive additional responsibility.

Let’s say, for instance, that they have been pestering you for a pet. Before you entrust them with a furry friend to call their own, make them prove their caretaking abilities through gardening.

4. Starting a Business

A lot of summer activities your kids will want to participate in cost money.

Why not turn that into a teaching opportunity? A modest summer business enterprise can keep your kids busy, help them earn some spending cash, and teach them independence.

Lemonade stands and lawn-mowing services are traditional, but they could take online surveys or sell crafts on Etsy instead.

Put your child in charge of creating a business plan and seeing it through. The harder and smarter they work, the more money they can make.

This can earn them a trip to the waterpark or buy them the latest video game all of their friends are playing.

Entrepreneurship is one of the most challenging — and potentially rewarding — endeavors out there.

Even on a small scale, your children can learn a lot by trying to start and operate their own business. They will experience a lot of successes and failures that will prepare them for larger projects in the future.

When that long-off day arrives, you probably won’t be ready to become an empty nester.

However, you’ll sleep more easily knowing that you prepared your kids to take care of themselves. Use this summer, and subsequent summers, to teach them lessons that will help them be successful.

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