June 2023


Summer routines help keep kids thinking and moving while school’s out


As the song goes, school’s out for summer! Children across the country are putting another school year behind them and welcoming, with open arms, the long days of summer. But while summer might seem like the perfect time to put aside routines and schedules it is important to remember that a little structure is critical for kids’ growth and development.

Summer schedule may sound like an oxymoron, but kids need direction and routine. Some children can experience a loss of cognitive ability during summer break, according to some studies. By encouraging mental stimulation throughout summer, parents can help children maintain math, reading and spelling skills. Research suggests a significant positive effect when children are enrolled in summer learning programs, compared to children who are not. Promote daily reading or math problems, select educational television programs and games and plan educational “field trips” with the family, like nature walks or trips to museums.

A lack of routine can also have physical effects on children. Some kids become more susceptible to weight gain during summer. More likely than not, these effects are due to changes in a child’s routine. With less structure, children may snack more and become more sedentary, which can lead to weight gain.

Many parents worry about over-scheduling their families, but there’s also a risk to “under-scheduling” as well. Kids tend to thrive and do best on routines. While it’s important to have breaks, fun and unstructured play time, routines let kids have something to rely on. This can be particularly important during summer, when kids have more free time and less supervision.

Simple ways to keep structure during summer

Simple things, like waking kids up at the same time every day, can help provide some structure during the carefree summer months. Here are six ideas parents can use this summer:

  • Daily routines – regular wake up, eating and bed times – even if shifted later for the long days
  • Summer school
  • Summer competitions – summer reading programs at the local library or summer sports leagues
  • Camps – educational, sports or overnight
  • Scheduled family trips
  • Volunteering in the community or finding a neighborhood job, for older children

Keep kids active and away from the TV

Parents can start by setting specific guidelines for their kids and creating an environment that promotes healthy habits.

Start by setting expectations and realistic goals and boundaries. For instance, how much screen time is too much? When should your daughter wake up each morning? How much time should your son spend outside?  These are important questions for parents to ask. Children need guidelines and expectations. If they don’t have them, they tend to become easily restless or complain of boredom.

As a baseline, experts suggests limiting screen time to less than two hours each day and encouraging kids to get at least one hour of physical activity each day.

That’s why helping kids find a regular activity they enjoy, whether it’s summer camp, a weekly play date at the park, or helping a neighbor, is so important.  If a child is in a stimulating environment, getting to play and be active, and do things that promote motor and cognitive skills, then even kids who tend to be more sedentary will be more likely to be engaged and active.

Remember, not all kids are the same. If kids aren’t as self-motivated to be active during the summer, that’s when structure and planning can be most helpful. By default, if children are left to their own devices they will more likely choose the path of least resistance with sedentary activities like watching TV, playing video games or surfing the web.

For parents who work outside the home, be sure to have an open dialogue with caregivers and regular check-ins throughout the summer. Caregivers need to know what goals and expectations you have set for your child. Many parents work during summer, which can make maintaining a child’s summertime routine more difficult. Parents should start by having an open conversation with their child’s babysitter, child care center or family member about their child’s routine while under their supervision.

Way to promote physical activity in summer

Plan family outings together. Go on bike rides, hikes or plan a family party or barbecue. Or think big and plan a camping trip. Parents should model healthy behavior and involve kids in making decisions about family activities.  For younger kids, parents can offer simple choices, such as, Would you rather go to the playground or park? By giving a child an option, they feel more involved in the decision, making them more likely to enjoy the activity. Encourage kids to try new things.

Promote self-regulatory skills. For kids, being outside and participating in activities builds self-regulatory skills. Practice riding a bike or practicing on the monkey bars. Playing in the park builds strength and confidence for doing new things.

Spend time as a family. Family time can be wonderful for a child’s development, physically and mentally. Kids can benefit from spending time with parents. Family time can improve a child’s cognitive development, vocabulary and understanding of the world. Enjoy the long days of summer and plan outings as a family. One of our favorite activities is family bike rides after dinner. Take advantage of places you can walk together, like the local park or library. Keeping up the bedtime routine of reading is also important.

Have fun this summer. Take a break, relax in the sun, but incorporate structure into a child’s summertime schedule.


Six Tips for Setting up a Summer Routine


Summer time is a lovely, relaxed time of year when kids enjoy getting out of the usual grind. However, as tempting as it is to have a fully carefree summer, this is not great for children. It is important to set up some routines and structure in order to maintain happiness as well as good eating, physical activity and sleep to keep them healthy. Here are some tips for setting up summer routines.

1.  Try to keep bedtime and wakeup somewhat consistent even if it is later than during the school year. Don’t let your child stay up all night and sleep all day!

2.  Schedule fun activities during the day to get your child out of the house:

  • Swim at the pool
  • Check out museums or the zoo
  • Go to the park
  • Run errands
  • Arrange play dates with friends
  • Go to the library

3.  Set up a daily schedule and follow it.

Sample Schedule:

  • 9 a.m. – Wake up
  • 9:30 a.m. – Eat breakfast
  • 10 a.m. – Get out of the house for an activity/errands
  • 12 p.m. – Make lunch
  • 12:30-2:30 p.m. – Read, make crafts, play time
  • 2:30-4:30 p.m. – Go to the park, pool, playtime – physical activity time
  • 4:30-6:30 p.m. – Help with dinner
  • 6:30 p.m. – Eat dinner
  • 6:30-9:30 p.m. – Family time
  • 9:30 p.m. – Bedtime

4.  Make sure the routine includes healthful eating and minimal dining out or snacks. When kids are home all day, they are tempted to eat a lot more, scheduling meals and snacks can help with this. This rule should hold even when on vacation.

5.  Take the opportunity to fit in plenty of physical activity. Kids sit a lot during the school year, so over the summer they should get up and move!

6.  Have a list of fun activities posted on the house so that when kids declare, “I’m bored!” you can direct them to the list to pick an activity.


PBS Kids:  For Parents - Summer of Possibilities Website  

Play and learn your way this summer! You can explore and play with your child all season long with a variety of free resources from PBS KIDS. Spark curiosity and creativity with hands-on activities, tips, and games around different themes supporting literacy, math, science, and life skills.

Get started here with summer fun for the whole family!



FREE: The Power of Positive Parenting


What you will learn:

  • What is Positive Parenting and Positive Discipline?
  • The 5 Criteria for Positive Discipline 
  • Where we are & where we want to go with our children and learn the most important parenting tool! 
  • Positive Discipline Tool Exploration 
  • How you can learn more! 

This class is interactive and experiential. Please be prepared to participate. I will send you an email prior to class with useful tools and tips as well as material for our activities.

June Class
​Date: Thursday,  June15, 2023
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration Deadline is Monday, June 12, 2023 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.
July Class
​Date: Monday,  July 17, 2023
Time: 7:30pm - 8:30pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration Deadline is Friday, July 14, 2023 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.

August Class
​Date: Wednesday,  August 23, 2023
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration Deadline is Sunday, August 20, 2023 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.

FREE: The Power of Routines:  Summer Addition

What you will learn:

  • Why Routines are so important to children?
  • 5 Routines your summer needs
  • What happens to behavior when routines are changed
  • How to create and implement a Summer Routine and still have fun
  • Roadblocks to Routine Success 
  • How you can learn more about Positive Parenting! 

Date: Sunday, June 11, 2023
Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom

FREE: The Power of Routines:  Back to School Addition

What you will learn:

  • Why Routines are so important to children?
  • What happens to behavior when routines are changed
  • How and When to shift gears to a new routine
  • 5 new routines to get your Children ready to start school
  • Roadblocks to Routine Success 
  • How you can learn more about Positive Parenting! 

Date: Sunday, August 13, 2023
Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom


Positive Parenting Bootcamp - 3 Session Course

Join parents & caregivers like you for 3 Sessions of Positive Parenting classes taught by Melissa Middelthon. Based on Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline books, you will learn to discipline with firmness and kindness. Have fun with kids and set the foundation for important social and life skills. Help children feel a sense of belonging and significance through mutual respect and encouragement. These classes are a fun way to connect with other parents in the community and practice the skills over a few weeks so that you can go more in-depth with the material.


"The class was very helpful in reducing stress and frustration in parenting. The knowledge that it is never too late to change your approach...we are so adaptable." 

"Taking this class was one of the best things I've done for myself and my family since my child was born. I refer back to the class's concepts in order to deal with day-to-day issues and also feel like I have an overarching philosophy to help me as I navigate the parenting world."


A course for parents and caregivers

 Parents and caregivers will learn long ­term solutions for raising kids to feel “I am capable, I can contribute, and I can use my personal power in useful ways to improve my life and the lives of others!” Positive Discipline teaches long ­term parenting skills that will encourage children to think for themselves, become more responsible and have a greater respect for themselves and others. Feel supported while learning some non­-punitive, respectful methods that will incorporate kindness and firmness into your relationship with your children. Get to the core of your children's misbehavior, practice encouraging tools and gain a sense of accomplishment.

This is a highly engaging ONLINE course that works best if you can participate on a computer or tablet. We will be co-creating a safe and supportive space that will include a mix of lecture, small and large group activities, role play and collaboration. 

Course Registration: $150 



Pricing includes one digital set of all materials needed for the course:  Positive Discipline, by Jane Nelsen, The Positive Discipline Workbook, Parenting Tool cards, and bonus access to videos of key lessons and a Family Meeting Toolkit.


Fall Session:

Dates to be announced soon.


Parent and Family Coaching 

Parent coaching is designed to provide insight, help parents discover newfound energy in their parenting, develop an appreciation for what they have and who they are, and create sustainable ways to achieve their vision or dream for their family.  Different than therapy, coaching’s unique methodology allows the coach to provide support as a cheerleader, guide, and mirror. Coaching is perfect for helping parents who are feeling overwhelmed, parents who are baffled by their children’s behavior, parents who are looking to bolster their parenting “tool box,” and parents who simply want to take their family’s life from good to great.  Interested to see if Coaching would be a good fit for your family?  Click below to schedule a complimentary discovery call.


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