Lack of structure for long periods is unhealthy for children

Posted on July 18, 2016

Summer vacation has already arrived for most children. For parents, the question is often what should be done about the children.

Unfortunately, if left on their own without any structure, children often view summer as a period in the year in which they have no responsibilities nor academic goals or expectations. Children can also easily get out of their normal routines by staying up later than usual, sleeping in, and watching a lot of television or playing video games.

Some parents may even view the easing of the rules as a reward for their children for making it through another school year. The problem is that this lack of structure for long periods is unhealthy for children as it sets up negative patterns for them and increases the likelihood they will be unprepared when the school year starts back up again in the fall.

Creating a summertime schedule for your children can be beneficial for them in helping them stick to a productive routine during the months they are out of school. While creating a summer time schedule does require some work up front, it can help prevent many problems arising because it will keep children from becoming restless and bored. Parents can possibly work with their children to help create the summer to increase buy-in and to allow their children to provide their input.

The goal should be to create proper mixture of planned activities and down time (i.e. free time or free play). The first thing that needs to be established is a proper and consistent time to wake up and go to bed. Again, the goal is to provide healthy structure for children. An important thing to consider is to limit your children’s television watching, gaming, and all other electronic devices. Be firm about maintaining those limits.

A good way to make sure your children stay prepared to return to school is to set aside specific times during the day for both learning and reading. Another thing to consider is adding a schedule of chores. Creating a summer schedule can help children stay on a healthy routine.


By Brian Wingfield

Featured in Odessa American