Summer break is a time for warm weather, traveling, hanging with friends, and sleeping in.
But as parents, it can be a pretty stressful time!
Parenting psychologist Reena B. Patel has some ways to help ease the stress, plan the summer, and have some fun:
- Develop clear, balanced schedules. This is something that is important for all ages!
- Physical activity. Add physical activity to your daily schedule. Even if you schedule 3x a day jump time for 1 minute, or have your kids get involved in your home workouts, there are even home workout videos for kids that can be fun for everyone.
- Make chores fun. Often children like to be in charge – sit down with your kids and let them pick a chore or two a week to complete – if the chores are complete at end of week, they can earn some money to buy what they want, or say you will take them to get ice cream end of week so they are excited.
- Teens can get involved. Get them involved in the community. Whether babysitting, dog walking, or offering to help to a trusted neighbor or friend or family member, this can help them learn the importance of money and finance and helping others. Even apps like the can help kids get involved!
- Schedule a family vacation. Whether it’s a camping trip, a drive to a families house or an exciting excursion, putting something on the calendar to look forward to is so important for kids to look forward to – even if it’s a short weekend away.
- Sign up for camps and educational experiences. Join your parenting Facebook groups and newsletters, there are constant events in your area. Look into local museums and art institutes, even Home Depot has children activities you can do to get out!
- Snacks, snacks, snacks and more snacks. Stock up in nutritional snacks that they can access from a table top bin – even get your children involved in cooking and making their lunches! It may be messy but don’t harp on the ‘mess’, great opportunity for your kids, to learn how to cook and to want to be more independent. Meal prep and yes it’s ok to have Mac n cheese for dinner the whole week!
- It’s OK to say NO. With so many events, birthday parties, play dates, friend outings, etc – this can bring on more stress for a parent to have a full calendar. Take as much control of the calendar as you can – designate certain days for play dates, plan weeks ahead to do a family outing – this gives kids more to look forward to
- Make sure you are still a priority. Working parent or not, make sure to schedule self care, breaks, or even ask for help. Kids may not understand that you need me day and actually give it to you, so have a mom day, dad day or caretaker, grandparent day
- Lean on your community. There’s tons of college kids wanting to earn money, join a local trusted group to see if you can get day help with your kids who are home or schedule playdates with another parent supervising
- Let go of perfection and what you think you should do and let them get dirty and wet.
If you’d like to here more from Reena B. Patel to visit her website.