Last updated on May 2nd, 2021 at 08:39 pm
Many of us live for summertime, when schedules are typically a little more relaxed and the kids are home to spend time with. We often have all these grandiose plans, with visions of our happy family frolicking in the sun.
Then summer arrives.
That relaxed schedule turns into running kids to this friend’s house or that day camp. The family frolicking translates into a trashed house and cranky kids begging for more screen time. The camping trip was cancelled due to thunderstorms or because your sanity just couldn’t bear the thought of such a trip. Nobody wants to picnic while listening to you read aloud because it’s too hot and there are too many bugs. Every single one of your kids have completely forgotten how to do chores, or simply bring their dish to the sink. [Also read: Chore Charts for Kids (Free Printables) + Why Kids Need Chores]
Is it back-to-school time yet?
Can you tell that I’ve been there? I think we all have to some degree. The truth is, there’s no magic recipe to ensure that summertime is as fulfilling and refreshing as we all dream it to be. But I do have some helpful tips that have the potential to transform your summer, even if it’s already racing toward disaster.
Ways to Connect with Your Child This Summer
Lower your expectations.
Having a plan is a good thing (we’ll chat about that in a second), but if enjoying the summer with your kids fully relies on your perfect plan, you’re setting yourself up for serious disappointment.
Set a handful of simple, attainable goals. Instead of planning to read every single day for an hour, choose one book you can all enjoy together over the summer. Instead of stressing about dinner around the table together every single night, choose a couple of nights a week to make regular family dinner nights.
Go ahead and have expectations for your summer, just don’t let them dictate whether or not this extra time with your kids is a success or a failure.
Have a plan.
The summertime can fly by at warp speed if we’re not paying attention. We only have a couple of precious months with our kids nearby all day. Let’s make sure to take advantage of this time!
Remembering that your expectations need to be reasonable, make some plans for your summer that will allow you to really connect with your kids. Schedule those biweekly dinners. Plan a day at the beach or a trip to a museum. Put it on the calendar so everyone can get excited about it. Then follow through, even if you’re feeling a little like you’re about to lose your mind. A camping trip might be just what you all need for a reset.
If left to their own devices, my kids would choose the PlayStation every time. I’m not interested in spending my summer fighting the electronics battle. It’s exhausting!
It’s important to my family that everyone helps around the house, is active, and gets some all-natural vitamin D. We’re not opposed to screen time, but it’ll only be a small part of our summer break. So we have certain things the kids need to accomplish before electronics can come out. They know the rules, so I’m not always trying to decide in the moment if they can play video games or if they’ve had enough screen time. [Also read: 6 Tips for Setting Screen-Time Boundaries]
What is important to your family? It’ll look different for every family. But if your kids know what’s expected, it’ll head off many an argument and a whole lot of stress.
Enjoy each other.
What we as parents really want out of our summer is to connect with our kids, right? We want to get to know them better. We want to invest in their lives. This might mean hard conversations. There might be some discipline involved. These are good things that don’t need to weigh down your summer. Let the trials and the crazy and the unmet expectations be springboards for growing closer to each other.
When your summer seems to be going completely awry, take a deep breath and maybe hide away for a few moments. Then come back and snuggle with your five-year-old and read him a book. Take your preteen out for ice cream and look her in the eyes when she talks. Soak up the faces of your ever-growing babes as you remember what a gift and privilege it is to have them close by this summer!
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