How Parents Can Stay Sane When Kids Are On Summer Break
During the school year, parents and children develop a concrete schedule or routine of daily and nightly activities and know what to expect when each day arrives. Parents find comfort and stability in this routine and it helps free them from some of the chaos of parenthood. However, when summer break arrives and the kids get out of school, that routine is abolished and can make parents feel, well, a little bit crazy. Psychologists and child specialists recommend a few strategies for parents to utilize during these summer months to free them from some of the chaos and get some structure back in their life. Three months is a long enough time to develop some sort of routine, but the first few weeks can be hectic.
One of the first ways parents can stay sane as they watch their routine dissolve right before them is to organize a new (but less structured to compensate for the flexibility of summer) schedule before the kids even get out of school. This includes new summer bedtimes, meal times, and maximum technology hours. It can also include a list of activities family members are still expected to do on a daily basis regardless of summer vacation, such as making their beds or tidying their rooms. Another way to stay organized and feel a sense of structure is by making a summer bucket list. Three months sounds like a long time but once August rolls around, many of us find ourselves asking where the time went. Filling your family’s summer with fun and exciting activities is a lot easier to accomplish when you have a list to serve as a reminder. It can also provide a reference for when a nice summer day comes around and you aren’t sure how to spend it.
Parents can feel the craziest during the rainy days when kids can’t play outside and the whole family is cooped up indoors. Use these days to have movie marathons, read or play board games as a family. Make it fun by letting everyone stay in their pjs all day and picking out movies everyone can enjoy. Another fun activity to try on cooler or rainy days is baking. Kids love to help parents bake and kneading dough or using cookie cutters will keep them occupied long enough for parents to take a deep breath and relax for a minute.
Another method for keeping somewhat of a schedule over the summer months is to establish a daily quiet time. Even if it is just for an hour or two a day, kids can use this time to read, play quietly, go outside, write stories, or watch a TV show. This gives parents a window of time each day to get some important things done or just take some time for themselves knowing the kids are occupied.
A last, but important, way parents can stay sane over summer break is by having the kids help out around the house more than during the school year. Summer is for everyone to enjoy, including parents, and without a long school day, kids have unlimited free time. Give each child a few summer chores to help out around the house so everything gets done faster and everyone can have more free time to enjoy themselves.
Long breaks from school can feel overwhelming and anxiety provoking for parents of children with unlimited free time, but there are absolutely ways parents can minimize some of the chaos and make it so they have a fun and relaxing summer, too!
ONCEKids Publishing is run by literacy advocate and Mompreneur Eileen Wacker. Click here to find her acclaimed books