It is hard to believe that we are looking straight down the barrel of another summer. Our kids are slowly losing control of themselves as the energy of the approaching summer overtakes them. I have an increased respect for school teachers as the end of the year approaches. How they manage to keep our kids in line is a small wonder to me.
In the early years of my parenting journey, I absolutely cringed at the thought of summer break. My boys were so active and without the structure of school, were nearly impossible to keep entertained and happily content. In addition, I always attempted to keep them on track educationally and their resistance to these attempts led to some legendary standoffs. All in all, summer was not a friend of mine.
As they have grown a few magical things have happened. First of all, they are increasingly independent. There are times when they are so self-sufficient, I’m not even needed at all except in a supervisory capacity. This is amazing to me as all I remember of their younger years is seemingly endless days of caring for every last one of their basic needs. Turns out, this does eventually end! Yes! It really does. You won’t be changing diapers or wiping noses forever, I promise. In conjunction with their increased self-sufficiency, they are turning into really entertaining people that I truly enjoy spending time with. They are extremely charming and funny. Lastly, my boys are old enough (ages 8 & 10) for a myriad of half-day sports camps. This is a win-win for everyone. We get separation from each other, they get out some of their energy and then, we get to spend they rest of the day enjoying each other’s company.
The single most important thing you can do to survive summer, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent, is separation. Whether that be in the form of a camp, a babysitter or swapping kids with other stay-at-home parents to give each other some free-time. One summer, I knew of a Mom who ambitiously organized several parents and their kids into a rotating summer camp held at each parent’s home. One day a week, a parent would host the whole group, but then, the rest of the week they were off the hook.
Riverview Counseling Services understands that parenting challenges can crop up at any time of the year. They understand that sometimes, and maybe even more so, the summer months are a time when more issues arise as everyone’s routine is completely different. Their latest free parenting workshop helped address ways to help kids and parents cope with summer break challenges. The staff of Riverview gets what it means to parent and are a great resource when you are needing some guidance or help.
If you have any parenting concerns, please contact Cheryl Denz, MA, LCPC at 630/587-3777 x103 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheryl is available to answer questions and help you determine the next best step for you and your child.
Let’s make this your best summer yet!
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent