Summer is now in full swing and your kids may have more time on their hands. What do you do when more time feels like too much time? What do you do when whining starts and patience is low? The following list includes some things you may want to consider to reduce the conflict and meltdowns:
- Is your child hungry?
- Is he tired?
- Has there been too much out-time or too much in-time?
- Is he missing a friend?
- Has something at home changed? (deployment, new work schedule, new sibling, etc.)
- Did feelings get hurt that have not been resolved yet?
- Does he need some quiet time (not a time-out, but personal quiet time to read a book or be alone)?
- Are you making eye contact when you speak to him?
- Is there stress in the home over finances, relational issues, etc.? (kids feel that)
- Is there an unresolved battle going on between siblings? (best to sit down and help them resolve it)
- Are you able to take the time to listen when he has an issue or wants to share something with you? (listening is key)
- Do you kindly remind him to use his “big boy” words? (sometimes we regress when we are upset or our tank is empty)
- Are you making a point to fit in self-care? (equips you with more patience and gentleness with your kids)
These are just a few things to look at. If you can resolve upsets at their core, instead of pushing them aside, it creates a longer lasting peace and you teach your child valuable life skills. It also builds trust and connection between you and your child, which is really important. It takes time and energy, but is well worth the investment!
Additional tips for summer success:
- Schedule some play dates, but also make plenty of room for “flow.” (let your kids use their imagination)
- Ask your children what they most want to do before school starts again. (Put that on your calendar, if it is doable. Try to get at least one item on the schedule for each child.)
- Do your best not to multi-task when you are with your children. If they are home, put on your mom/dad hat as much as you can. Enjoy the time off as a family.
- Focus on FUN, even if it’s just hanging out watching a movie or playing in the backyard.
- Schedule “date nights” with each child. (Check in and see how they are.)
- Remember what it was like when you were a kid? Let them be kids.
- Take family walks or bike rides. Evenings after dinner are wonderful times for that.
- Enjoy ice cream together on the patio after dark.
- Stay up late to watch a special movie with your oldest child alone.
- Think of things you can’t do when school is in session (such as staying up later), and have fun surprising your kids with special moments.
As a society, we have gotten away from built-in family time. As a parent, it is important that you create that time for your family as early as you can. Every moment spent investing in your parent-child relationship will pay off in the future. Find ways to open your schedule for enjoyment, quality time and conversation throughout the summer. Listen more than you talk. Do your best not to judge, blame or lecture. Be curious and seek to understand. Be patient. Do not yell. Get support when you need it. Have a wonderful summer!
Traci L. Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She provides parenting classes, teen programs and individual coaching. She is known for her practical parenting style and can be reached directly at 951-240-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org. www.alovingway.com