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It’s summer break and you want to be able to enjoy your children, I see so many parents counting down to the time school starts. Then when school starts, they count down to summer because the school schedule is a pain sometimes. It seems many parents are always counting down to the next whatever – be it summer or school. Stop. Enjoy the time you have with your kids, whether they are being totally awesome and getting along or having a case of sibling rivalry ALL DAY LONG, enjoy those moments. Time flies too quickly to not cherish every moment, yes even those patience testing times.
Here is how I survive summer (and other times of the year) with my three, very different children:
Always be proactive – you know how your kids work and what makes them tick. Planning ahead for things that will entertain them, allows the long drive to be more tolerable. For me, the middle child enjoys electronics as a means to keep himself occupied during a long trip, so I charge up the Nabi Tablet and encourage it being shut off when he’s not using it (as I don’t have a car charger for it at this time). For the other two, they bring along some small toys, coloring book and crayons or paper to play tic tac toe. Plan to have everything packed up and ready the night before to ensure you don’t forget anything!
Set Expectations – Let your kids know what you expect of them. If they are not acting properly in the car, I don’t care where you are, pull over and stop that vehicle. Do not yell and scream and get all stressed out because your children are not behaving, sure I get it, stopping and pulling over will make the trip take longer, but it’s worth it to teach the children that you will stop if they don’t behave properly in the car. Also let them know what you expect of them at the outing, such as not running off, staying a certain distance when walking with you, etc. One thing I do with my youngest, who is a bowl full of energy, is that he can run ahead a bit til I say STOP. He must stop when I say stop and not go again til I yell GO. This keeps him from having to restrain his energy, but also keeps him at a safe distance. If he doesn’t listen, I make him hold my hand, this involves him screaming, yelling and being pretty mad, but he learns that is the consequence and I don’t care if people “stare” at us, I am being the Mom.
Have Fun and Be Happy – Seriously, it’s as simple as that. Sure it can be stressful and overwhelming to be at a packed beach or facility, with kids, but get over it! If you set the expectations ahead of time, follow through with a matter-of-fact consequence things get easier. Do not allow yourself to think “well this kid knows better” or get all grumpy because your child isn’t listening. Kids will be kids. They will test limits; they will see what they can pull off, especially being out in public. Let your child know they have a consequence but have fun, don’t get all tense over having to “deal with your child”, it is going to happen, children will make the same mistake over and over sometimes too, it’s all about teaching them how to not keep making the same mistake. Get down at their level, have fun, be silly and let loose. Just because you are laughing, having fun and letting loose doesn’t mean your child won’t respect you as a parent, they actually will learn to listen to you more because they will trust you are able to get down on their level and enjoy this Summer outing.
I am sure I could go on and on with more tips, but these three have been the best for myself, what are your extra tips you may have that work for your family? Do share in a comment below…