CONGRATS!!! You survived the entire school year! Now what the heck should you do? It's always so difficult to figure out what to do with your children. You put them in this summer camp that sounds awesome, but after a few weeks go by...they hate it! Or they want to go to this super-amazing-life-changing-I'll-die-if-I-don't-go camp, but it's waaaaaaaaay TOO EXPENSIVE!!! What do you do? Where is the middle ground? Today I'm hoping to give you strategies you can actually use this summer so you don't lose your mind...errr I mean so you can enjoy your summer to the fullest extent! There is a simple worksheet to help you generate personalized activities for your child(ren)! Click the picture below to download the worksheet + use it once you've read through the post! Here we go....
Strategy 1 | Active kids
Kids that are placed in various activities tend to avoid trouble more than their counterparts. Activities are essential for social development. Have you ever noticed the differences in children who attend daycare programs + children without regular interactions with other children? Many times they miss certain social cues that their peers have grasped a while ago. Activities also help children discover what they actually like in life. I didn't realize how many opportunities I was exposed to growing up until I was an adult. It breaks my heart to see some of my teen/young adult clients who are afraid to experience life. Because they don't know what to expect from the experience, they shy away from taking the leap in the first place. You can't discover your passion living in safety! Safety is good, but calculated risks are also meant to be explored! Activities also tend to wear kids out, which means they are too exhausted to do much of anything else when they get home! Some programs cost money, but the library + other places host lots of free events your child could be part of. Discover what peaks their interest!
Strategy 2 | Allow independence
Thinking along the same lines of activities, independence is healthy! If your child wants more independence + the relationship is in a place where they can be trusted - create opportunities for age appropriate independence! For example, if your child is responsible + they want to take a walk to the store with some friends - set up boundaries + non-negotiable...then allow them to be independent. If your child wants to make dinner + has watched you cook pot roast 90 million times.... allow them to cook the pot roast while you supervise them! If they are old enough to fix snacks for their siblings + want to do so - allow them to do it! Nine times out of ten they will not perform these tasks according to your standards. In these instances, help them understand what needs to be done differently (if anything) + then create another opportunity for them to follow through. This creates a sense of purpose, trust, strengthens your relationship with your child (as they feel a sense of pride that you actually trust them to do something) + best of all - it clears things off of your plate!
Strategy 3 | Enjoy!
Enjoy your time with your kids!!! Why? Because life is sacred + things can change in the blink of an eye! We get so busy with things we actually have to do in life that sometimes we miss out on the most magical moments! When my daughter was born, people asked me what stage I couldn't wait for her to get to. My response has always been that I will cherish every stage. Each stage of life has ugly moments that you wish weren't so hard, yet beautiful, powerful, transformative moments that you never want to end! I have truly found ways to cherish even the most stressful moments! When I find myself annoyed by my daughter calling my name 75 times in a row or begging me to watch her favorite movie - I remind myself that one day she will be vying for the attention of her peers + I will want more time with her. I invest time in her now + try my best to muster up energy to actually play with her! I want to create memories with her so that she knows regardless of how much work Mama has to do - there will always be room in her schedule for YOU!
Strategy 4 | Breaks
This strategy doesn't come natural to many parents, because we get in our Superhero mode! Superhero mode is great sometimes.....but there are many times where we just need to be ourselves. Sometimes Mama needs "Mama time" + there is nothing wrong with that. A lot of parents shame one another for feeling exhausted when in reality.... WE ARE ALL EXHAUSTED! Some of us just hide it better than others!
This wasn't a super long strategy list and that's because I wanted to kick-start your mind, so you can use the worksheets to tailor activities specific to the needs of your family! If you have strategies that aren't listed here - I want to hear them!!
Shout them out to me on twitter using the click to tweet below, join the FTHC Tribe Lounge + share your ideas with all of us or comment below the ways you're staying sane...err I mean encouraging independence this summer!