Summer can be fun, but also a stressful time for moms.
Heather Johnson shares some ways we can all stay sane over the summer vacation.
1. Ask “What’s the goal?”
The goal for summer should be more bout building relationships and less about crossing things off a bucket list.
2. Set SMART expectations and think ahead.
In a dream world, summer break would look like the movies, or the social media posts we see online. It is unreasonable to expect our kids will always get along, that they won’t get bored, or that no one will complain about having a bedtime. We can only glorify summer so much until we set ourselves up for disappointment. We need to have smart and reasonable expectations. Our kids are going to be home together for 3 months. They will probably get frustrated with each other, they will probably say “I’m bored”. Don’t be so surprised when it happens. Also, think about the things that really make summer frustrating for you. For example… for me personally, the in and out and in and out for a drink can start to test my patience. So instead of dealing with that, I make sure that there is cold water OUTSIDE every day of the summer so the kids don’t have to come inside all the time.
3. Family contributions FIRST
One of the stressful things about summer, is that when we are off doing lots of other things, there isn’t a lot of down time at home to attend to housework, keeping up with laundry etc… So, make it clear up front that family contributions come first, every day. Family contributions are another name for chores. Instead of things sounding like a job, make it clear that every family member contributes to make a family successful. Everyone contributes in different ways. Use a WHEN… THEN… mentality. WHEN family responsibilities are taken care of…. THEN you can play with friends, we can go do something away from home, you can have tech time. It is important that you don’t pit family contributions against excursions or outings. It can’t be a good vs. bad. Write down the contributions so you don’t have to constantly remind them.
4. Quiet time every day
It is an adjustment for parents to have kids home all day. Although we are excited, especially at the beginning of the summer, there are still things that we have to do as adults each day. Setting quiet time each day, for naps (little kids) a little summer reading or school work, rest, anything… Allows moms to have a few minutes to themselves. To rest, take care of responsibilties, anything. Knowing that time will come each day will help with the stress of summer.
5. Get help with the planning
There is so much pressure for moms to plan all the details of summer. It is hard to think of things to do! Plus, we don’t know what each family member expects out of summer break. So… instead of taking on all the planning ourselves, ask each person so you know what they expect, and then, have each family member make a list of 5 or 10 things they really really want to do. Then try hard to do those things. It takes the pressure off of us to think of things.
6.Know what to do when you hear “I’m Bored”.
Don’t solve it. A simple “I am sure it feels frustrating to not know what to do, and I know that you can figure it out.”
7. Set a summer bedtime.
Remember, tired is tired, no matter the season. Moms are happier day and night when their kids have enough sleep.