I am one of those moms who in early May starts excitedly counting down the days until school breaks for the summer.
Ahhh…summer vacation…I envision a more relaxed schedule, longer days, and later bedtimes. Who else looks forward to freedom from the chaos of homework, school projects and after school activities?
Then…before I know it, school’s out and summer arrives. Each year I truly believe the summer will be leisurely and full of light and love. Unfortunately, my dream does not exactly become a reality. What actually happens is the kids get on each others nerves and start fighting after about 2 days. They leave messes in the kitchen and bathroom. I am no longer able to stick to my normal schedule and my work suffers. I hate to admit it, but my kids can drive me crazy.
While summertime as a time to relax and unwind, it also poses challenges. Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a working parent, life changes for those few summer months and the adjustment can be difficult. If your children have too much free time, they may make more demands on your attention. Trying to balance quality family time and fulfill your other obligations can require a lot of juggling to make it work. Whichever your situation, here are some easy ideas to reduce stress and keep everyone happy this summer.
Keep a schedule.
- Don’t give up on a regular routine just because it’s summer. Try to maintain a schedule that remains relatively the same every day. Keep regular meal, bedtime and wake up schedules. Following a regular routine will decrease stress for your kids and encourage them to make the most of their summer vacation.
It’s ok to say no.
- Set boundaries for yourself and your kids. Know you may not be able to cross everything off your to-do list and that’s OK. Pick one or two things to get done and don’t accept every invitation extended. Be selective of what you choose to do or the activities your kids participate in.
Unplug to de-stress.
- Schedule some screen-free time for everyone in the family every day. We all tend to be glued to our phones and other electronics. Stay present and enjoy each other’s company. You feel less stressed and hopefully learn not to rely so much on electronics moving forward.
Plan a staycation.
- Stay local if adding travel to your summer schedule feels like an added stress. Explore parks, museums and attractions nearby. Take advantage of the free or low cost activities and events many towns offer during summer months.
Put family time on the calendar.
- Set aside a specific time each day to do something as a family. Cook a meal together, organize a game night, do a puzzle or watch a movie. Fun family activities will make memories for the future.
Rest assured, summer can be a wonderful time for everyone in the family with some foresight and planning. It is an opportunity to slow down, relax and re-energize before school starts again in the fall. How will you spend your summer?