Some working families dread summer breaks especially when their children are too old for day care and summer camps.

The key to a successful, less stressful summer vacation for children is planning. Let children help you create the routines, rules, consequences and rewards for staying home alone.

Routines: Visual prompts

A cheery reminder note on the kitchen table with some favorite breakfast foods gets the day off to a great start, as an example.

They may not act like it, but even teens enjoy this reminder that you care.

Be sure to set concrete rules about leaving the house, cooking, having friends over, etc. These rules need to become part of the daily routine.

Let your child or children help you create the visual reminders of the routines and rules. This can include a check list for chores, etc.

Establish Consequences
Establish consequences for breaking rules, and let your children help create those consequences. Children need reminders of appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Impromptu visits to the house will let your children know that you are watching.

Remember to praise your children for their positive behavior.

Establish Rewards
What does your child value? Spending time alone with you?  Going to the mall? Having friends over? Understanding what motivates your child will allow you to create the best system of rewards. Be sure to include some of their suggested rewards.

Having trouble?
Children whose behavior puts themselves or others at risk need immediate intervention. The CALM Center is available any time of day or night. For children in crisis, contact the CALM Center at 918.394.2256. To contact our children’s services staff for a non-emergency appointment to help with behavior issues, call 918.492.2554.

Follow this link to a KTUL Good Day Tulsa interview.