Kids can be just as responsible for staying out of trouble and enjoying their summer as you are responsible for them. They just need a little guidance along the way. One way to show you care is to take an hour on Saturday morning to plan a couple of activities with the kids for the next week. Only plan out one or two days where you will take the kids on an outing. Have the kids do some of the leg work with you. If you are planning to go the local water park (can be very inexpensive), have someone gather the information you need (ie: park hours, cost, directions, etc.). You may be surprised how the kids will rise to the occasion. You will definitely have to give some guidance at this point. Offer your guidance in a form of several options to get the required information. You can even let the kids figure out what information is needed and coach them along the way. Hey, even let the kids choose an activity they want to do and let them plan the whole thing. Have them write out a simple plan of action (POA). If they miss something in the POA, give them a hint (ie: I wonder how we are going to get there if I don’t know which direction to turn out of the driveway; I wonder how much money I need to bring). Some kids will really get into the planning while others will really struggle. Remember to be patient as you are really teaching a life skill.
Let the kids plan they own activities for the rest of the week. You do not need to take them someplace everyday. Limit their TV and video game time during the day. Encourage them to call their neighborhood friends to hang out or just to show up at their door (this depends on your comfort level on where they going).
It’s always a good idea to have some reading time at least a couple of times a week. Again some kids will devour a book while others would rather feed it to the dog. A journal of the summer may be an option for some kids (it is a wonderful keepsake down the road of life).
Kids just need to know they are loved. They may not show their appreciation now but you are really preparing them to leave the nest. Do your best, perfection not required (or possible).