Find a job.
A summer job can work wonders for a child's self-esteem. My son worked at a local fruit stand last year. His boss counted on him to do a good job, which reinforced his positive self-image.
—Nancy, New Jersey
Limit down time.
I try to find classes for my children that will take up half the day. In June they attend art camp, in July, vacation Bible school. I arrange play dates and movie days once a week. I do my best to limit down time -- that is when the fighting begins.
Get to camp.
Have a morning routine.
During the summer, the boys get up as if they were going to school, and their morning routine stays the same. In the morning, they work on earning badges for Boy Scouts, play outside, and learn lots of games on the computer. This structure works for the adults and kids.
Sharpen school skills.
I use summer as a time to work on the skills my child had trouble with during the school year. Last year we spent mornings reading, practicing handwriting, and typing. I leave the afternoon for swimming at the pool and having friends over.
Slot time for interests.
The school year is full of structure, so I let my kids explore their interests on their own. We also do a big project that the kids can get into. This summer it's creating a garden.
—An ADDitude Reader
Let the kids choose.
My children have plenty of say in their summer activities. They do attend camp, but not for the whole summer. I offer the kids activity choices and create a schedule around their choices. This approach works wonders: The kids are totally absorbed in their activities -- and the parents get to relax.