Give Summer Some Structure and Dads Lots of Love

Highlighting the benefits of routines and positive father figures

It’s officially summer! While many families delight in releasing their hold on daily routines that outline the majority of their year, others struggle with the vast stretch of time and “open-ended” summer vibes; sometimes, too many choices can be paralyzing, and the day becomes a black hole complete with bickering kids and exasperated parents. In steps a possible lifeline: a summer routine. Sounds pretty lame? Not so fast. Read on for tips on how to implement.

As for all the fathers and father figures out there, we acknowledge the important role that you have in your children’s lives, and wish you a special day filled with love and appreciation from those you love in return.


Daddy Is My Hero

This sweet children’s book depicts the everyday tasks that involved dads carry out, and the heroic manner in which kids view them.

Product: Outdoor picnic blanket

If one is not already in your possession, consider purchasing a portable, outdoor picnic blanket to accompany you and your family on various summer adventures. Picnic in the park? Check. Playmat for your baby in the backyard? Double check!

Quote of the Month

“And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling.”

– Shanti

A (Kind of) Structured Summer

Avoid wasting away the summer months by implementing a routine

Even in this age of high-tech devices that many children have access to, parents far and wide still commonly hear two words that can spark within them anything from maddening frustration to total indifference: “I’m bored.” Both reactions (“You’re WHAT?!”; and “Good”) are understandable. On the one hand, a child claiming to be bored can be offensive to a parent who works hard at keeping them entertained and engaged, while on the other hand, parents know that boredom can be a positive experience for a child, as it’s said to incite creativity, flexibility and problem-solving skills. And while summertime is revered as the season of freedom and fun, it can often be, well, boring. Despite having the allure of no school, outdoor play, water activities and cool treats, summer, with its sudden expanse of unscheduled time, can create a sense of idleness that some kids– and their parents– simply don’t know what to do with. The solution? Creating structure.

The idea of a structured summer sounds distasteful to many, considering the allure of late starts, lazy days and “no rules.” However, for many children and families, a sense of structure can reduce the anxiety and frustration that often comes along with a blank planner. Kids, after all, generally benefit from having a sense of routine in their lives, as knowing what to expect can help them to feel more grounded and at ease. Left with no blueprint for summer days, kids are often left chomping at the bit, impatient for something but not knowing what. Even extremely busy adults who yearn for more time in their days can experience this when suddenly granted a sliver (or large slice) of unscheduled time: their focus dwindles and they become paralyzed by indecision. A common result for kids and adults alike? Irritability stemming from an underlying sense of anxiety. Before long, many families find themselves annoyed with and avoiding each other before afternoon even sets in, making summer not seem so magical after all.

Create “Soft Structure”

Structure doesn’t always mean iron bars; sometimes it’s more like a spider’s web. Consider building “soft structure” into summer days by leaving some wiggle room within each routine. For example, “Reading Time” doesn’t always have to mean quietly sitting in the house with a carefully curated selection of books. It could mean a visit to an unfamiliar library, a book reading at a local bookstore, a trip to Barnes and Noble to browse or purchase something new, or meeting with friends at the park with a bag of books from home.

Embrace Themed Days

Themed Days on a weekly rotation can help instill creativity and break up the monotony of summer days. When appropriate, get your kids involved in coming up with ideas for themes; it will give them a sense of pride and motivation to see their suggestions come to fruition. Ideas for themes include: Make It Mondays for a craft day; Water Wednesdays for any water-based activities, Fun Fridays for family evening outings, Sandy Saturdays for heading to the beach, etc.

Don’t Obsess Over Academics

Yes, we want our children to always be learning. But we often forget all the forms “learning” can take. If you’re thinking of avoiding activities because they aren’t necessarily considered to be educational, remember not to underestimate motor, sensory or imaginative play, as they provide a foundation for higher cognitive learning.

Be OK With Breaking Rules

Planned on hitting the pool but a friend texted asking if you’d like to meet up for a playdate at the park instead? Go for it! (As long as it will be something you and your family will enjoy, that is). While a schedule can help avoid idle days, writing it in stone may prevent you and your family from enjoying the carefree vibe that summer is all about!


Cheers for Our Peers!

Giving Accolades for Addie

Addie Cook has long been a part of our CTC community, and we have been lucky and astounded to see how she’s grown. Check out some exciting things that this accomplished 11 year-old was Cook-ing up this spring!

Addie recently laced up her ice skates and accompanied the Chicago Blackhawks out onto the ice for the national anthem, thanks to her participation in Pucks for Autism.

Addie starred as Dorothy in the Lincolnway Special Rec Association’s recent rendition of The Wizard of Oz. With her truly spectacular voice and her unwavering confidence she sang, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to a riveted crowd. She’s bound to have more starring roles in her future!

Way to go, Addie! We are so proud!

Want to share news about your child’s accomplishments in an upcoming newsletter? Move over, modesty! Email “Cheers to Our Peers” to and include a picture and description of your child’s exciting news. You can see them featured in an upcoming edition!

Dads: Not to be Discounted

The role of a father is more than what has been portrayed

Most anyone in today’s society would agree that the role of “dad” has considerably transformed over the years, and thank goodness for it. Gone are the days when fathers sat outside delivery rooms with a box of cigars to light up in celebration with their male comrades; today, more and more fathers are involved as they can be in the birthing and rearing process. Rather than primarily being seen as the source of financial support and having the final say on disciplinary matters, an increasing amount of fathers provide substantial emotional support and share in caretaking responsibilities, some serving as the primary caretaker in the household. Data show that paternal involvement in childcare doubled between 1965 and 2011, indicating a positive trend that ongoing generations of children can benefit from well into adulthood.

Research regarding the critical role that fathers play in their children’s development continues to expand with time, with current examinations indicating that children who have regular, positive contact and involvement with their fathers tend to demonstrate an array of benefits during development. Among various studies done, positive outcomes have included enhanced language development, stronger emotional regulation, better grades in school and increased self-confidence. Of course, the quality of the co-parenting relationship is a crucial component in what outcomes are seen in a child’s development. While conflict between parents has been shown to be detrimental to a child’s well-being, supportive co-parenting relationships coincide with improved self-regulation and fewer behavioral issues in children.

This Father’s Day, we honor the fathers and father figures who contribute their love, affection, empathy, understanding and acceptance to their children as well as to their co-parents. In the discussion of child-rearing and development, overlooking dads is no longer fair or relevant; give credit to whom credit is due.

Content of this newsletter was written by:
Megan A. Miller, M.S., CCC-SLP

Please contact Megan with any questions or comments at: