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School's out! An exciting time for the kids can become a stressful time for the parents

Summer vacation tips for parents
Summer vacation tips for parents 02:51

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Today is a big day for students in Baldwin, Brentwood, Hampton, Keystone Oaks, Mt. Lebanon, and Northgate as they finish up the school year. 

They'll join a sea of school districts that have already concluded the 2023-24 school year.

That also means their families are now taking up the role of executive entertainers. 

So, fire up the video game controllers, summer is here. 

"We don't want our kids spending the entire summer on their screens, even though that's easy to do," said Amanda Mushro, a lifestyle consultant. 

Now, that's not to say your home has to be a screen time prohibition zone. 

"I work from home so I'm okay with my kids on their screens in the morning," she explained. "That means I'm getting my work done, however, I have friends that say we're going to charge your screen once a week and when it's done, it's done." 

Whatever works in your home for screens is fine, Mushro said, but now with the summer here, it's time to get budget-friendly creative. 

"You can just do a quick Google search of free activities in [your] area," she said. 

Of course, if a trip on the Google Highway doesn't help, you can always tap into your friend group. 

"If they have some flexibility in their schedule, maybe the kids are going to go over to their house," Mushro said. "Maybe they can and you can trade off responsibilities." 

Simply put - play dates are a way for parents to get a break. 

"The kids can hang out at their house or maybe they can go to a pool or playground," she said. 

There's also the older sibling factor and they can also be of help with the younger ones. 

"It has to really be within reason," Mushro explained. "So I've got a very responsible teenager but it's not his full-time job to watch his little brother." 

It's also important to get out of the house to break up the monotony. 

"Maybe it's just to a playground or maybe we just went for a walk or we walk around Target and check out the new toys or something just to get out of the house," she said. 

And don't forget the snacks! You can set up a snack basket or bin but make sure there are limits. Mushro said if you don't, they could end up eating all the Goldfish before noon. There's also the option to create an area in the fridge for some grab-and-go snacks so they're not saying "I'm hungry." 

Outdoor activities should also be encouraged with Mushro saying to keep an eye on the local Facebook buy-nothing groups because that's where you can find old bikes and games, and that "trash" could become your treasure. 

Finally, don't be afraid to get the kids involved in choosing the activities, snacks, meals, and events because then they're buying into the planning and have something to look forward to. 

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