No more teachers, no more books! Helping parents stress less this summer
The kids are almost done with school. Everyone’s counting down the days, although parents may be feeling a mix of emotions… happiness, dread, anxiety; all are common and it doesn’t make you a bad mom or dad if you’re not totally jazzed that your kiddo will now be with you all. day. long.
For stay-at-home parents, it’s not uncommon to dread the end of the school year, as it often means a full-time commitment to your child. Keeping kiddos entertained for the entire summer can be an extremely taxing job, and many parents feel stressed about taking on responsibility for their child’s boredom. So don’t. Do things a little differently this summer by following these simple tips:
Keep your kiddos on a consistent schedule. This doesn’t mean getting them up at 6 a.m. every day and adhering to a rigorous agenda of activities, but try and keep bedtime and wake-up time, as well as meals, around the same hour each day. Children benefit greatly from routine and research demonstrates disruptions in sleep and other routines can negatively affect our health and our moods.
Don’t completely abandon all that is academic. Your kiddo will benefit from continuing to practice the skills he or she learned in school. Try to spend a few hours each week on educational activities, whether it’s a math game on the computer, a trip to the science museum, or an afternoon at the public library.
Be prepared. Have a list of fun, simple, low-budget activities your kiddos can do when the “Mom, I’m bored!” comments begin.
Speaking of the “Mom, I’m bored!” comments, don’t immediately swoop in and try to relieve your child’s boredom when he or she comes to you complaining. Instead, validate your child’s feelings, and put the problem back on your child by saying something like, “I get it. I feel bored sometimes too. What are you going to do about it?” If your child continues to complain and can’t think of anything to do, offer a few choices from the activities list above in # 3. Or challenge them to stay bored and handle it.
Carve out time each day for chores and household responsibilities. Even young children can help their parents out with small cleaning tasks, weeding, or folding laundry. Create a chore chart or make a fun game out of chores (e.g. Write chores on small pieces of paper and put them in a hat or box. Have each child chose 1-3 pieces of paper and complete the chores on each). Make screen time or other desirable activities contingent on chore completion.
Last, but certainly not least, take some down time. Schedule 20-30 minutes of “quiet time” each day so both you and your children can take a break from each other and recharge. Quiet time doesn’t have to mean “nap time,” but taking time to wind down is an important and effective way to combat stress and over-stimulation.
What are your tips for less stress this summer?