Summer is here and school is out after the strangest school year I have ever experienced! As a school psychologist, the last weeks of school have the buzz of anticipation of wrapping up the school year and looking forward to summer vacation. That sweet combination of lazy days and fun-filled vacations that take us on unique adventures or make us appreciate laid back lazy days at home. Now enter Covid 19 and picture what this summer is going to look like?
Huh…. I have absolutely no idea! Maybe you too are thinking we have already had lazy, boring days at home during the stay at home orders. Or, all the trips and camps you so carefully planned a year in advance and were sooo looking forward to are cancelled. Maybe, you are already panicking because you have come up with every idea you can think of to keep your kids busy and entertained and you are totally out of ideas. What now??????
I’m sharing some summer survival tips to help moms stay sane this summer.
- Create a schedule and make it visual. We all need structure in our day and although summer is usually a more chill time it is also important to keep a basic routine. Schedules help kids know what to expect and gives them a preview of the day. This helps them organize themselves and helps you from constantly answering thousands of questions of what’s happening. Schedules can be simple and adapted for a variety of ages. Little ones can use a simple schedule for parts of the day like getting ready in the morning, running errands, playtime, and nightime routines.
- Remember “first then” language. This is along the idea of “first you eat your veggies and then you can have dessert.” So, plan more desirable activities after less desirable activities. This gives kids built in incentives to complete things they really don’t want to do. And, gives parents a natural consequence if it doesn’t get done. It’s a bit of a tough love approach…. “Sorry you didn’t pick up your toys, now we won’t be able to go to the park.” Just remember to always build in another opportunity for your child to redeem themselves. And, keep it very neutral and unemotional. You can even sympathize with “it’s a bummer because I really wanted to go too.”
- Keep it realistic! Oh boy, this one is tough for me. Summer is gonna be more chill and that’s okay. Realize that it’s okay for kids and moms too for that matter to find time to relax and recharge. Look for the simple opportunities to connect, bond, and enjoy time as a family. These don’t have to be instagram-worthy moments or bucket list trips, just sweet and simple moments that won’t last forever. Take time to treasure them!