Great question since summer is just around the corner! Peek in on most American households during the months of June and July and you are most likely going to see kids eating and doing things they normally wouldn't on a school night. It's very common for parents to be more lenient regarding rules during the summer. In American culture, for children, summer vacation is a reward for all the hard work they put in during the school year. It's a chance for them to take a break, stay up later, have more free time with friends, and sleep in in the morning. It's important that kids learn to take care of themselves and take a break from their everyday responsibilities as a student especially since kid's activity schedules seem to be increasingly jam packed.
It's important to remember that kids always need rules and regulations to guide them in the right direction. Unfortunately some parents and caretakers take summer to the extreme and let their kids do anything they want. I propose that rules not be dropped during the summer but just adjusted. Parents should keep the same general rules such as a specific bedtimes, the amount of time they are allowed to play video games and watch television, and getting along with siblings etc. However, it is ok to amend those rules to allow for longer amounts of time they are allowed to do those things. For example, if they have a bedtime of 8:30 on school nights, don't drop it all together, just adjust it to a different time such as 10:30. Keep the same consequences in place if they don't follow those rules.
The bottom line for parents is to find a happy medium between abandoning all rules and keeping the same rules throughout the year. Kids need to know where they stand with their parents. Keeping rules allows for them to be praised when they adhere to those rules. Despite what they may say, overall, kids do want to please us.
Summer is also a great time for kids to learn self-control and an opportunity for them to begin to learn to make their own decisions and live with the natural consequences of those decisions.
Structure is key, but it is ok for that structure to change during the summer months:)
Hope you and your kids have a fun and safe summer:)
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A lot of people will probably disagree, but I think that summer is a special time when kids should have special freedoms to enjoy themselves. While I think that chores should still be done, things like strict bedtimes, dietary rules, etc. should be loosened a little for extra summer fun (i.e. late nights eating ice cream, still my favorite activity). However, for older kids and teens especially, parents should be extra vigilant about about where they are, who they're with, and what time they'll be home. There is such a thing as too much fun.
Summer vacation rules differ in our house. I think this is a good thing, especially for kids ten and older. It gives them a chance to make some of their own lifestyle decisions. But we don't give out a blank check on bedtime though the wording and tone changes from "imperative" to "advisory." It also give us parents a chance to exercise that necessary change of mode from Manager to Consultant - a necessary step for all parents to take when the kids become teens.