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Summer is the perfect time for your child to work on developing themselves… while still having tons of fun along the way. And if you need a fun activity to balance out their hard work, bring them in to KidSnips for a temporary hair color stripe (hair chalk, gel, or spray) free with any hair service.

I’ll never forget that summer day. I was innocently reading in my bedroom, and my mom suddenly called me downstairs and announced, “Get your cleats on, we’re going to softball practice.”

To the average person, this probably doesn’t sound like a particularly dramatic moment. It’s summer, why not spend days outside, running around a softball field? But for me, a middle school girl who could easily spend every hour of summer break locked in my room reading book after book, barely remembering to eat or sleep—the prospect of suddenly being forced into participating in a sport, of all things, was scarring.

I know my mom’s intentions were good. I have never been athletic, and when I was younger, physical activity was the last thing on my mind. So a little forced exercise was healthy for me. But we’ve got some ways you can make sure your kids have a well-balanced summer while not making them feel like you’re forcing them to have fun and get outside their comfort zone. Here are 4 tips to help you out.

1. Pinpoint your child’s needs.

Maybe your child’s personality is like mine when I was little, and they could use a little exercise during the summer. Or maybe they struggled with math or spelling last school year, and you want to make sure they keep working to improve this summer. Whatever it may be, choose one activity that you’d like your child to focus on over the summer. You might also choose one activity that they’re already good at and keep developing those skills too. Then, you can talk to your child about how it could be good to work on this over the summer—and maybe you can even have fun while doing it. And if they’re still hesitant, you might propose some type of reward to encourage them to go for it.

2. Make a schedule that works for you and your child.

It’s very rare, but believe it or not, there are some children out there who are overachievers and will eagerly complete any assignment you put in front of them. Yes, even on vacation. For most of us, though, our children have been looking forward to summer, and they’ll only do as much extra work as they absolutely have to.

You know your child’s limits. Maybe you choose one day a week, or one activity per weekend, to spend time doing something self-improving. Balance looks different for everyone. So even when you run into that parent from your child’s class and they tell you their child is enrolled in three workshops and playing four sports this summer—don’t worry about it. You know what your child can handle while still enjoying summer.

3. Prep them—don’t surprise them.

There are very few times I can recall being as upset with my mom as when she sprung the softball practice news on me. I was not prepared for it. I was halfway through my book. I was in middle school and nothing in the world could make me feel confident playing a sport in front of other kids.

So if you’re planning on enrolling your child in a class or setting aside time for an activity that they may not be super excited about—prep them for it. Start talking about it with them well in advance. And let them know all the details. When will the activity be, where will it be, how often, and for how long? It may not seem like a big deal to you, but from your kid’s perspective, they may feel better about the activity if they’re aware it’s happening before it happens.

4. Make the activity as fun as possible.

Maybe this won’t be their favorite part of summer, but rather than choosing a class and enrolling them in it without any choice—give them some options. If you’re going to make them spend an hour reading every day, go to the library together and let them pick out a book. If you’re going to send them to a day camp, let them choose which one sounds the most fun to them. This month’s #KidSnipsShoutout goes to Chicago Kids, which has a comprehensive list of day and overnight camps in and around Chicago organized by activity.

You might even reward your kids for doing a not-so-fun activity by offering a super fun activity… like coming in to KidSnips for a temporary hair color stripe (hair chalk, gel, or spray) free with any hair service. It could also be a fun way to teach them that doing something different doesn’t have to be so scary after all…because, of course, our stylists are good at helping every kid feel comfortable. But whatever you do, don’t miss this cool way to kick off your summer with big smiles—we’re offering color stripes for the whole month of June.

Note: One free hair color stripe per customer (temporary hair chalk, gel, or spray stripe). Reg. $2 each. Free with any hair service. Offer valid through June 30, 2019. Not valid with any other offers.

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