As summer vacation time draws near, the Peetes are making big plans, including choosing summer camps for their four children and maybe even taking a family road trip in an RV. To get some help with their summer plans, the Peetes talk with parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba.
How to Choose Your Child's Summer Camp:
Look for camps tailored to your child's interests. "The best camps are actually ones that pique the kid's actual strength and interest, so that it's not only fun, but they're going to learn something from it," Dr. Borba says.
Give your children realistic guidelines. If you know you won't allow your child to go to a camp that is too expensive or dangerous, don't give it to them as a choice, Dr. Borba says. "Don't ever give them a choice unless you are going follow through on the choice," she says.
Make a camp budget and stick to it. "Say, 'Here is the budget we have. Now, let's look at what the camps are and how much they cost,'" she says. "How great for a kid to flip through a book and choose [a camp] that way."
Tips for Happy Family Road Trips:
Pack a bottle of aspirin. Dr. Borba says this is always her number one tip for parents.
Delegate a role to each child. "One kid can be your photographer; one kid can be the diary person; one kid can [use] the atlas and figure out where we're going," she says.
Pack fun items. "I think the best thing you can buy for each kid is a cookie sheet with a rim," Dr. Borba says. "Little kids love them because you can get magnetic letters and they actually stay there; bigger kids use them for stickers; older kids use them as portable desks, and—worse comes to worst—you can take them out and even use them as food trays."
Wear the children out/make them tired. "Stop at least every two hours," Dr. Borba says. "You [can also] drive during the night when the kids are asleep so life is fun during the day." Also, it's ideal to stop at a hotel that has a swimming pool because swimming always tires children out, she says.
Play books on tape and car games. "Yes, they have their own iPods, but after a while, what happens is everybody does their own thing and there is no collective memory," Dr. Borba says. "Collective memories are everybody listening to … Harry Potter on tape or James and the Giant Peach."