5 Positive Parenting Tips for Summer
By Hannah Slattery, LCPC, Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator
It’s finally summer, the season that both kids and parents are excited about. You may have vacations planned or have family come to visit, summer is full of sunshine and possibilities. Summer is also when kids can have less structure than they normally would and parents may start to have a more difficult time with discipline. This doesn’t have to be a disaster waiting to happen, here are some simple yet effective ways to enjoy each other all summer long.
** If you’re unfamiliar with Positive Discipline please read the other blogs we have up! However, here’s a good base to start with:
FIVE CRITERIA FOR POSITIVE DISCIPLINE
1. Is it kind and firm at the same time? (Respectful and encouraging)
2. Does it help children feel a sense of belonging and significance? (Connection)
3. Is it effective long-term? (Punishment works short term, but has negative long- term results.)
4. Does it teach valuable social and life skills for good character? (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, accountability, contribution, cooperation)
5. Does it invite children to discover how capable they are and to use their personal power in constructive ways?
It is OK for your kids to be bored. As a parent, you could probably lose count of how many times you’ve been told: “I’m bored”. Your kids aren’t in constant stimulation for 8-9 hours a day anymore and so it may take a little bit for them to regulate to summertime slowdown. What’s important is to take this off your plate as a parent and allow your children to problem-solve. It may be beneficial to create a “bored” jar so that the kids can participate in creating summer memory ideas, and utilize blogs or Pinterest to come up with fun/budget-friendly ways to make fun memories together without having to turn on the TV.
Sibling rivalry doesn’t have to be constant. Your kids are gonna be spending way more time together than usual and so it’s understandable that they may start to get on each other's nerves, don’t let this be the end of your sanity though. Instead of always getting in the middle of fights, let them hash it out ( as long as it’s safe). One key skill to teach your children is utilizing “I feel … because,” “I want you to…” and “I am willing to…”. This may look like I feel hurt because you took my toy and I want you to give it back. I am willing to let you use my stuffed animal. Your children are always learning and providing them with skills they can use their whole life is priceless.
Responsibilities don’t just go away because it’s summer, family contributions(chores) still need to be done. So continue to make it a priority that everyone helps around the house. There are tasks for all ages and it can be helpful to even have a list of what each family member can do to contribute to the household. This teaches our children the value of caring for our belongings and respecting the things they have. If there needs to be a little bit of encouragement use When- then statements, when you are done with your family contribution then you may hang out with your friends/watch TV etc. You must hold a firm boundary with this or it won’t be an effective tool!
Irregular Sleep Routines: In addition to kids possibly wanting to sleep in during the summer, it has its disadvantages when they don’t want to go to sleep at night. Keeping a healthy sleep schedule during the summer is key to helping everyone stay sane. It doesn’t have to be the exact same time as we know there are more outings and late night activities, but it’s important to try and balance the stretches of time between naps or bedtime. The last thing any parent needs is an overtired kid refusing bedtime.
Finding time for Quality Time. Lastly, we want to make sure as parents we can give each of our children one on one quality time throughout the day, even 10-15 minutes. Of course family time and togetherness is crucial but if you’ve got multiple kids pulling at your sleeves it’ll help ease the tension if you set out time each day for every single one of them. This builds a healthy relationship between you and your child, knowing that each one of your children wants/needs different things from you. If a child’s attention cup can be made full you’ll have a more stable and independent child moving forward.
I hope one or more of these tips can be effective for your family. These ideas are based on Positive Discipline created and developed by Jane Nelsen. Please look more into her work if you believe more of these types of tools can help make your family more cohesive and happy.
If you’re a parent who is struggling with surviving the summertime do not fret, there is hope and skills to learn. Reach out to Graceful Therapy today to set up an appointment.