I received a group email from a friend on the first official day of summer for our children. The email simply read: “How many days till school starts again?” My response to this was:
“Lol…That Bad? I’m so glad you said something! I actually got out every parenting book I own today trying to arm myself against the ensuing chaos and at the same time I was trying to tell myself, the first week is the hardest! Glad I’m not alone! xoxo”
The truth is, like many others, summertime can feel like a mixed bag of excitement, relief, anxiety and maybe even dread for some. Or maybe it’s just that first day of summer, where most people are coming down from the roller coaster of the last two weeks of school where there seems to be an endless amount of parties, potlucks, celebrations, noxious amount of sugar consumption and little sleep.
For me, that first day of summer was especially difficult because my two kids were arguing, fighting and generally bugging each other. I am hopeful that that was the low point for the entire summer and the rest of the long, warm days of summer will be harmonious and full of joy!
I have to admit, I was feeling more than anxious and a bit annoyed with my children that first day, but then I tried to change my perspective to a kind one. What I mean, is first I needed to stop thinking of them as “little adults” and remember that they need some structure and they need to be engaged in something, anything other than trying to bug each other. With a little desperation I grabbed the kids and headed down to Lake Shore Learning Center with the plan to purchase bridge workbooks for the summer.
Lake Shore Learning Center was amazing, not only did I find the bridge workbooks and buy a few birthday presents for upcoming parties, but the kids also loved the outing and all the cool things the store has to look at and even try out.
Once home, I sat the kids down and explained the plan for summer: “During the week, you will complete 2 pages in your bridge workbook, 20 minutes of reading for Alex (my 8 year old), 40 minutes of reading for Bella (my 10 year old) and 10 minutes of typing, all to be completed in the morning before 11 am swim practice. We will leave the afternoons free to play outside and/or play with friends. I will also take both of you on bi-monthly field trips to local museums, science centers, mini-golf, movies, etc. And lastly, you will each receive 1 free hour of electronics, this includes, T.V., computer and ipad. Any additional time on electronics will need to be earned by reading, a minute for a minute.”
I was actually surprised by the lack of complaints. They seemed to almost be relieved by the fact that I made a plan. Just goes to show me that the parenting books are correct: Kids need structure!
Structure with Kindness.
Please share your summer plans for your kids.