Ah, summer! What a great season to unwind, rest and have some fun. Schedules are less hectic and time is more plentiful. Why not use it to have important conversations with your children? Make a commitment to take time to talk to your kids about big topics. Do things together as a family and let the conversation unfold naturally.

Whether it’s around the dinner table, on a hike, sitting on the beach or in the car, use the time to dive into “big” topics while there is no other source of pressure and you may have thier full attention. Kids want to talk, especially if they know their parent is listening.

So, together, put down the phones, listen to each other, provide advice and guidance that fits with your family values, goals and dreams and truly connect. And with proper precedent setting, the habits of open communication formed during the lazy days of summer may just carry over to the stressful days of the school year.

So, take a day trip to a museum or the beach, take a hike together, visit a library, attend a concert, cook a meal together, play whiffle ball or cornhole, have a backyard campout, go out for ice cream or any other number of fun things you can think of. The moments will pay dividends when the school year grind comes rushing back. Most importantly, create a habit of family meals together that you continue through the school year. It’s the best time to connect, share experiences of the day and discuss potential problems. And, of course, put down your phones and implement a device free zone at the table!

Tizzie Mantione