By Roxi Bienhoff
Summer is just around the corner and I find myself more stressed than excited this year. I have been a stay at home parent, part-time working parent, and a full-time working parent. Each one brings about fun and challenging summer days. Every time I get asked, “what are your kids doing this summer,” my guilt as a working parent starts to rear its ugly head. I have no idea! Sleep, eat, repeat? How am I going to keep them engaged, happy, safe, connected? Those thoughts kept going through my mind and then I realized I have overcomplicated summer.
Maybe you love summer break as a parent and that’s great, but if you struggle like me I hope these next steps can help you begin to enjoy summer with your family.
Try not to get caught up in what everyone else is doing for summer vacation. You may have 10 minutes or 10 hours to be with your child. Whatever your time frame is, take some time to be present with them. Turn off the television, put your phone away, stop doing the dishes or mowing the yard. That email or text can wait 5 minutes. And that show? There is HULU and Netflix you can watch later. Sometimes all our kids want is for us to listen for a few minutes without distractions.
You don’t have to have an extravagant vacation to make summer memories. Let loose and remember what is was like when you were on summer vacation as a kid. Go swimming, eat ice cream, take your kids for a drive with the radio up and the windows down. Being an adult doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Plus, you get to show your kids you were actually a kid once and know how to have fun.
Keep a routine, serve somewhere together, and reach out to friends. Your kids may find their friends on different schedules because of summer and that’s ok. Be sure to encourage them to reach out and find new ways to get together. If you go to church, serve in some capacity together as a family and don’t forget about routines. Routines can be a welcome relief to kids and parents when summer is so unpredictable. If routines are difficult for your family, pick one thing you can do together every day, like have a meal together. Little things can make a big difference.