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Summerís Coming Ė Are You Prepared?
By Jamie Dale

Summer is fast approaching and all of our kids, whether theyíre in kindergarten or in high school, are looking forward to the same thing Ė the last day of school and the summer vacation that follows it. And while your son or daughter may have dreams of lazy summer days and fun in the sun, many of us parents are having nightmares about how we are going to keep our kids occupied for three long months. Almost all of us have heard the saying "idle minds are the devilís playground" and we all know that those words can be all too true. So whatís a parent to do?

Whether you work full time or youíre a stay-at-home mom, keeping your kids out of trouble when schoolís out can be challenging, to say the least. Letís face it; this isnít the same world that we grew up in. Disrespect isnít only tolerated, itís commonplace; and unruly behavior has become the norm in many societies. As Christian parents we canít worry about whatís accepted in society and whatís currently accepted as the status quo. We need to worry about what God wants for our children and whatís right; and that means taking a proactive approach to keeping our kids busy in the coming months. Thankfully, there are a number of resources that we can utilize when planning summer activities for our kids.

The Church

When planning your childís summer schedule, your church is the first place you should turn to. Many churches with youth programs are now holding summer camps and summer activities. If your church has a program that your child would be interested in, it could be the perfect way to keep your child entertained during the months ahead.

Summer Sports

If you live in an area that has a park district, you should look into what summer sports programs the park district sponsors. Sports camps and summer teams can be a great way to keep your child physically active and mentally occupied.

Special Interests

Whether your child is interested in a musical instrument, horse-back riding, ballet or art; there are probably a number of classes available in your area. If you donít already know, find out what your childís interests are and see if there are any local schools specializing in that activity. Youíd be surprised at what you can find. My 3-year-old daughter loves to dance and even though we live in an extremely rural area, we found a dance school about 20 minutes away that has a program for toddlers. Look and youíre sure to find many interesting possibilities in your area.

Family Outings

Going on weekly family outings can be one of the most rewarding summertime activities you can plan. Not only will you and your children be occupied and entertained, youíll be spending quality time together and creating life-long memories. Even if you work full time, weekends offer you the perfect opportunity to participate in regularly-scheduled outings. Depending on whatís available in your area, trips to the zoo, museum, county fares and amusement parks can all be weekend destinations for your family. Contact your local tourism bureau to find out what activities and attractions are available in your area.

While it does take some effort, keeping your kids on an active schedule and out of trouble can be accomplished with some effort and prayer. God has blessed all parents with the responsibility of caring for a child; let us put the needs of our children in a position of top priority this summer.
Jamie Dale has been the author of literally hundreds of articles, including titles such as "The Difference Between Like and Love" and "To Know The Father's Love". As a mother of three little ones, she understands the struggles of Christ-centered parenting in today's world and tries to help others by incorporating humorous insights and thought-provoking questions into her writing. She has often stated that God is the only perfect parent, but we can all try to follow His lead. It's Jamieís goal to help parents remember this. You can write to Jamie care of the Letters page of this magazine.
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