Summer means a different rhythm and the need for a seasonal set of parenting skills. Try one of these for some motherhood summer survival.
We had issues with our girls fighting over inane but seemingly debate-worthy issues (i.e. who sits in the middle seat of the car). To tame the time spent refereeing, I devised this little formula that has worked wonders.
Keep calm. Use the old count to 10, or walk outside and cool down (which is their personal favorite), or scream into a pillow. The highlight of my day is to see two of them begin to “wind and whine” and then suddenly have one of them say, with clenched teeth, “I need to go outside to cool down.” Good thing we’re doing this in summer.
Name the problem. Be clear and say what the problem is, minus the wailing and hand gestures. She wore my shirt. He broke my airsoft gun. Whatever it is, state it in one sentence if possible. The beauty of this is that they actually have to clear out the emotion to figure out what in the heck they were even mad about in the first place.
Find a solution. Tell what you need to make it right, and make it reasonable. She owes me a dollar when she borrows without asking. He needs to pay for Airsoft gun repair. This helps the people involved feel control over the situation and what is happening to them. And it can give a healthy dose of silent neener-neener to an at-fault sibling ….
Give your children specific things to focus on during the summer. Goals, projects, whatever it may be, helps children not just pass the time but feel they’re progressing (happy playtime part of that joyful equation).
What’s worked great for us this year (because it changes year to year) is to do the “Power of 1: set 1 goal, complete 1 project, develop 1 talent” over the summer. They can complete their Eagle, declutter their room, progress in guitar lessons, etc. Badaboom, the guilt is gone.
For a daily focus, the kids enjoy a power hour (the power theme is big this year). We do 20/20/20 in that hour: 20 minutes of reading, then writing or math, and one chosen subject (art, history, music, whatever they want). It usually goes overtime in any of those areas, so it’s a great jumpstart.
Lazy, hazy joy
Within the power surge, we are experiencing the “Summer of Joy,” which is what ultimately summer should be. We list fun activities to do and write on our joy poster when we do them, especially spontaneous fun such as “made yummy waffles with whip cream this morning!”
You can survive summer as you enjoy a bit of balance between the fun and functional. Try one of these ideas or share one of your own.
Connie Sokol is an author, presenter, TV contributor and mother of seven. Contact her at www.conniesokol.com.