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Summer Contract

​​​ Family Playing Outdoors​​​​​​The school year is coming to a close, and ​that crazy time of year known as "SUMMER VACATION" is just around the corner.

For most families, summertime can be fun, frustrating, adventurous, boring, laid back, hectic, relaxing and chaotic; sometimes all in the same day!

When school's out and the kids are home, you need a plan to get your family through the summer-month challenges while at the same time teaching your children valuable skills and lessons that can bring your family closer together.

Boys Town's Summer Survival Guide is your ticket to putting together your own summer plan - none that will help everyone keep their cool this summer!

The Boys Town "Breeze Through Summer Agreement"

This "contract" will help your kids know where they stand this summer regarding expectations for conduct and behavior in and out of the house.

Read through the suggestions below and then choose which ones fit your family situation the best. Once you've selected the statements that you like, click "submit" to be taken to your customized agreement, which you can then print and have everyone sign. When you're done, put it on the fridge or message board so that everyone knows what's expected of them this summer!

Here are some ideas for rules you can include in your agreement:​

Summer bedtimes can be later than what they are during the school year, but kids shouldn’t be up until midnight staring blankly at a computer or TV screen. This is a good way to teach and have kids practice the skill of following instructions. It also keeps them in the habit of having a regular bedtime so you don’t have to start from scratch setting bedtimes when school starts in the fall.

Hectic summer schedules don’t always allow families to regularly gather for meals. That’s why having a rule like this is so important. It lets everyone in your family know that eating dinner together is important and provides a time when you and your kids can share news and “re-connect” when your busy schedules keep you apart.

This is a great way for kids to learn some kitchen skills, learn about healthy eating habits and feel a sense of accomplishment from making something the whole family enjoys. Kids also can agree to help with the dishes and clean-up after a meal.)

Your kids might already have a chore list, but with extra time in the summer, there are plenty of other little jobs for them to do around the house. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about responsibility and work ethic. Chores can include having kids make their bed every morning, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, helping keep the house clean (dusting and vacuuming) and helping with yard work.

This one is for parents and is a good rule to include when you have younger children. Reading to your kids is a great way to share quiet time, talk about the meaning of a story and the characters, teach your kids new word and help them settle down for bed.

Teaching your kids the positive behaviors you expect ahead of time goes a long way toward heading off problems when you do get to the store. Let your kids help with the shopping, and use the experience to teach them how to compare prices, look for healthy food and how to ask for something they want appropriately.

Teaching your kids the skill of reporting their whereabouts is a good way to keep them safe, allow you to monitor their activities and keep your stress level down.

Another rule for parents, and one that involves having the family do something together. You can play at a nearby park, ride the bike trail, visit the city swimming pool, go to or rent a movie or just take a walk. The activity doesn't have to be extravagant or cost a lot of money; it's just a time for the family to be together and have fun.

This is the key, basic skill most parents want to see their children master. When your child can consistently follow your instructions, the summer and family life in general will be much smoother.

This is another big skill parents want their kids to use. Children who understand they can’t always get what they want aren’t as demanding and are less likely to get into power struggles with their parents.

This rule can be for the kids and for parents. If you all decide to read the same books, you can have a "book review" night where you discuss the plot, characters and lessons the story might have taught.

In addition to eating dinner together, family meetings are another great time for everyone to catch up with each other and share what's happening. You also can use family meetings to add new rules to your "Breeze Through Summer Agreement" or make changes in your rules you already have. Everyone should get a chance to talk or voice an opinion during a family meeting, and it's a good time do teaching on the skills of having a conversation, taking turns and showing respect for others.

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