Some families keep their routines during the summer, but many families find that they are together more and that their schedules are not as predictable as they are during the school year. This can be a source of great joy but can also be a cause of stress and frustration at times.
Perhaps a few parenting tips will remind us all of ways that we can have a more peaceful summer.
1. Respect must flow both ways between parents and children. Children have the right to be heard. When there is a conflict in your home, give each person involved a chance to express his or her feelings.
2. Declare your home a safe place where NO ONE is allowed to act like a bully. Simply do not tolerate name calling, hurtful teasing, or any negative action toward someone by a child or an adult. If children are old enough, include them in deciding the consequence for violating the safe-place rule.
3. Never underestimate the power of touch. Do you put your hand on your child’s shoulder when listening to him? Do you hold her tight when you give her a hug? A gentle pat on the back or a high-five for a job well done means so much. All touching is communication so touch your child often. Make sure that you find ways to communicate how special he is to you.
4. Watch how your child communicates with her peers. Perhaps mirroring her style when you attempt to communicate with her will strengthen your connection.
5. Get on your child’s eye-level when having a conversation. This shows that you respect who he is and value what he says.
6. It isn’t always WHAT you say but rather HOW you say it that bruises a child’s spirit. Some believe that up to 93% of communication is non-verbal. Be aware of your tone, gestures, and body language.
7. Set aside family time each week—an evening to play games, a family tradition that everyone enjoys, or just playing outside together. Children need to know that they can count on the family focus each week.
8. Your children need chores. This makes them feel that they belong to the family unit, and it teaches them valuable lessons. No matter how badly you want to just do it yourself, it is in your child’s best interest to assign chores and hold him responsible. Start early with age-appropriate tasks and be consistent.
9. Safety First! Don’t ignore your gut feeling in any situation. Disregard the peer pressure that you or your child might be feeling and always keep in mind that your child’s safety comes first.
10. Read to and with your child. Insist that she switches off all electronic gadgets so that you both can read and experience life together.
11. Be fully present during time with your family. Turn off YOUR gadgets and give your family your undivided attention. Children need to see that they are the top priority in your life.
12. Plan, plan, plan! Keeping children engaged and on a routine will allow your family to have an exciting, fun … and yes, a more peaceful summer.
Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.