5 Tips for Sane Summer Parenting
1. Include the children when making plans.
You want your kids to cooperate? Ask them for their input when making plans. They’ll be less likely to throw a fit in the grocery store aisles when they’ve helped you determine what time of the day you should go shopping. Asking children to help you with even small decisions like, “Should we go to the market before lunch or after lunch?” helps empower them, and when they feel powerful, there’s less urge to misbehave.
2. Keep to a routine.
While there may not be a rigid school schedule to stick to, it’s important to keep a steady routine going, for your sake and your child’s. Kids thrive best when they know what to expect, so keeping wake-up, meal, and sleep times consistent will help regulate the day. It might even help to designate times of the day that they play outside or read quietly.
As advised in Tip #1, collaborate with your kids on building this routine! Write it down (or draw it up) where everyone can see it. All the sudden, it’s not YOU telling them it’s nap time—it’s the schedule that’s telling them. How cool is that?
3. Make them useful.
Instead of just letting them do whatever and hoping for the best, engage your children in all the normal tasks that need to be done—like making dinner, doing the laundry, or tidying up. It may take longer for the chore to be completed initially, but the rewards are three-fold: It will keep them occupied, it will lessen your workload (especially the second time around when you won’t have to “train” them as much, and it will teach them a life skill.
Approach them from this angle: “I need your help with…” rather than simply ordering the kids around, especially if they aren’t yet accustomed to having chores.
4. Limit screen time, even during the summer.
Yes, there are more hours to fill up in the day, but that doesn’t mean kids should spend more time staring into a screen (television, computer, video game device, phone, tablet, etc) for any longer than normal. Summer is a time to discover new talents, explore new hobbies, and to play physically! Turn off that screen, and whole new worlds will open up to your children that they may not have otherwise discovered.
My own son was never a big reader until I reduced his screen time. Without the option of TV, he ended up picking up a chapter book I had bought him months before. He loved it, and is now a voracious reader! These days he’ll often choose a book over TV, even when the option of TV is available to him.
Another great side effect of limited screen time is that your kids aren’t as exposed to the blitzkrieg of commercials for junk food and toys! That means less whining for you to listen to on your next store run.
5. Have fun! That means you, Mom and Dad!
Summers are so full of promise and possibility for children. It’s a shame that we lose that sense of summer wonder as adults! Even if you work, take advantage of the longer days to spend time with your children and to have fun with them. Model what play and self-care look like as adults so your kids will know what to do for themselves!
By following these 5 Simple Tips to Sane Summer Parenting, Mom and Dad will have summer made in the shade.
by Pamela Layug Laney
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5 Tips for Sane Summer Parenting,