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What Are Your Kids Doing For The Summer?

Looking to Mahwah parents for advice

It seems like there are so many options for kids this summer - camps, sports programs, volunteer opportunities, or, for older kids, internships. 

What are your kids doing for the summer? Will kids actually get a break this summer? Can they be over-involved in summer activities?

Mom's Council member Lauren Rosen said:

"Camp was always my number one choice for my children when they were young. Each of my three children had different needs; therefore, I chose different camp settings and  programs for all three. My main goals were to have them socialize with other kids their own age that they may not have an opportunity to socialize with during the school year, to remain active, and to engage and be exposed to new and different activities. My kids attended different types of programs ranging from over night camps to town camps. They did a few specialized camps as well which focused on specific sports. Every summer we revisited our options and devised a plan that we could all be comfortable with.

As my kids got into their teen years, they became counselors at camps and also took part in summer internship programs that were recommended through the school. They volunteered for various organizations and did some community service.

I do actually feel that kids need a break in the summer and often see kids become over-involved and over-scheduled. It's great to be busy and active as long as some “down time” is planned in as well.

I am also a firm believer in carving some time for recreational reading and a bit of academic review. Keeping the mind engaged over the summer certainly helps maintain skills that can easily be lost over time. Kids begin the new school year at an advantage when they challenge their minds throughout the summer months. Hopefully, reading becomes one of the fun summer activities rather than one of the dreaded.

I hope everyone enjoys the soon-to-be here summer break."

Patch is looking to Mahwah parents to recommend an appropriate level of summer involvement, or programs that you have had positive experiences with. If you have an opinion on this issue, sound off in the comments section!

Suzanne Curry May 18, 2011 at 05:25 PM
I am a "list" person so every summer I make a list of "Things to Do" with my family during the summer. Strangely enough, most of them do get done. Let's see, I've had, "Day at Point Pleasant", "Visit a beach we've never been to", "Darlington County Park" ,"Movies", "Mets game", "Day at Palisades Center", "NY Museum", and going back a bit "Day at Chuck E Cheese", "In the Swing" trip, "NJ Children's Museum" and that park in Paramus that has a zoo that I can't even remember the name of anymore because it's been so long. Our family trips are at the top of the list. There's also little things that make the list like "plant vegetables", "buy a fruit tree" (7 years later and we're still waiting for the apples), "invite friends over we haven't seen in a while", "read a new book". Back when my children were young the point was to keep them occupied. Now that my children are older they can occupy themselves but my goal is for them to be occupied with something meaningful and productive. – See next box
Suzanne Curry May 18, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Summer ends up being much like the rest of the year as far as activity levels. There are days which are jam-packed with activities and days where there's not much to do. Careful planning and doing that planning early in the spring is key. My children have been to just about every activity available in this area in the last decade, from free bible vacation school camps to more costly sports programs. Summer is a chance to explore. Now that I see just how quickly they grow, I encourage all parents to use summer to help your child learn something new, do something new, or practice something they want to be good at. There are so many sources of information now. It's easier to hunt for free and low-cost options. Mahwah Rec is a great option. And even without structured activities, summer should have plenty of time for kids to play and socialize on their own. Though it seems like just yesterday that I was packing their backpacks and washing their camp shirt for Fridays, this spring I am making plans for my older son to take a summer course and visit colleges. Time goes by fast, use summer for fun and exploration. –Suzanne Curry, writing as a Member of Mom’s Council
Patricia Patella May 18, 2011 at 06:19 PM
I like my kids to stay active during the summer. Being a couch potato is not a suitable form of activity, despite protests from my older two. My husband and I want them to be active for a few hours each day. It's good for both body and mind. Mahwah Recreation has a great, reasonably priced camp for them to attend for a few hours each day and the enrichment programs in the afternoon keep their minds and hands busy. They are usually done by 2:30 p.m. and then they can choose to go swimming or hang out at home. I encourage having friends over. If they have someone at the house, they are more likely to end up outside playing. I don't want to overbook them with daily activities because it does get hot and I certainly don't want them to experience dehydration. Keeping their minds active is also very important. I don't want my kid's to fall behind in September, so I recommend a summer program or tutor. Lauren Rosen, a Mom's Council member and Specialist at Ramapo Ridge is a wonderful tutor. I can say this from experience. She absolutely knows how to relate to kids and teach them how to succeed. My kids will be involved in her summer tutoring sessions. My oldest will also be volunteering her time this summer. By volunteering, she will learn about responsibility, dedication and taking pride in her work. Not to mention that she will be helping others. Tricia Patella Mom's Council

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