With summer in full swing and the kids out of school, you may often find yourself thinking or even saying to someone, “my kids are driving me crazy!”
If that’s you this summer, here are a few suggestions to ward off the craziness.
Don’t give in to the idea that you have to keep your kids busy all the time.
That may seem counterproductive. If my kids are busy, you may think, they won’t drive me crazy as much. But actually, many power struggles and conflicts with kids are a result of them being over-scheduled. The busier you are the more stressed you and your kids are. The more stressed you both become, the less you will enjoy each other and just life in general.
Be very choosy when picking summer activities. Allow your kids to have down time, and even if they say, “I’m bored,” that’s okay. Amy Dickinson says that “Boredom has an important function because pushing through it can unleash creativity.”
Let your kids be bored, and help them see the endless possibilities that “boredom” brings.
Take Care of Yourself.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your kids that you forget to take care of yourself. How do you act when you do NOT care for yourself? How do you act when you take time to work on yourself? Chances are you will see a big difference.
When you don’t take care of yourself, you are more easily irritated, more likely to over-react, and probably feel more overwhelmed by the demands of parenting.
Finding time for yourself is not easy, I get it. But the benefits are huge for both you and your kids. When you take the time to care for yourself, you will be more energetic and patient. And that directly affects your children.
Self-care may look like any number of things for you:
- Allowing yourself time to relax
- Scheduling time out with a close friend
- Scheduling a date night with your spouse
- Pursuing interests or passions, even if it’s just listening to a podcast or reading a book
- Being open to getting guidance from a parenting coach or getting counseling if you struggle with deep hurts
None of these actions are going to come easily. You must be intentional and schedule them on your calendar.
Get into a Groove.
If the summer break has turned your schedule upside-down, find a new schedule. Try to stick to a routine as much as possible. Let your kids help set the schedule; in doing so, they are more likely to stick to the plan.
Schedule Screen Time.
To minimize screen time battles, make a daily schedule. When kids know to expect an hour of TV at a certain time every afternoon or games on their table for 30 minutes before dinner, they will be less likely to bug you about it during the rest of the day.
Don’t put pressure on yourself by setting summer expectations that are too high.
How often have you started out the summer saying, “This summer we will do this, this, this, and this.” Or “This summer I will learn how to….”
There’s nothing wrong with setting some summer goals for you and your kids, but don’t set the bar so high that it stresses you out to try to reach it.
Perhaps it’s time to think about the real reason for summer….what do you feel it’s for? What do you want your kids to get from it? One or two reasonable goals can set the tone and give you something to work toward without putting too much pressure on you or your kids to have the “perfect summer.”
The summer does not have to be a time to simply endure until the kids are back in school. If you’d like help enjoying your kids more, schedule a free consultation here.