Let’s Talk Parenting: School’s Out!
By Denise Fedunec
School is done and now what? What do you do with the children? How do you keep your sanity? Summer is a great opportunity to build connections with your children and do it outside in the warmth of the season. However, it present challenges to family life as it often disrupts life. Here are few tips to help you manage your children during the summer months while you wait for another school year to begin. You know you are thinking about that already!
1. Maintain your schedule and routines as much as possible. Predictable routines help children know what comes next and helps children manage the emotions that come from continuous changing environments and activities. Keeping those routines in place during the summer help keep children, more cooperative and less stressed.
2. Make it visual. Children thrive on predictability and benefit from having a good idea of what is going to happen during their day. Using pictures for wake up, dressing, breakfast, activity can help to create smooth transition times for young children. Posting a calendar of events will benefit older children.
3. Make plans. Children love being a part of the decision-making and it helps build their growing executive functioning skills! Get their input early and create a list of activities, camps, play dates and vacation plans then post them in a calendar. This helps children predict what they are going to do, which in turn creates less stress and anxiety and more cooperation.
4. Maintain or create a behavior system. Children and youth may act as if they are in charge and know what to do but in truth, they feel safe and secure when they know what is expected. Choosing 2 or 3 most desired positive behaviors and giving consistent and positive reinforcement will help kids understand the rewards of good behavior. A star chart, monetary incentives or intrinsic rewards like time spent with mom or dad alone can go a long way to help support you and your children.
5. Find support. Check out local support and resources like Family Centre’s parent support & education to help you as a parent. When you take care of yourself as a parent, you are better able to take care of your children.
Finally, get outside! Find new and fun adventures in our city. Fresh air, physical activity and time spent together is good for everyone’s mind, body and spirit.
Sources: various articles, Triple P Parenting