Summertime can pose new challenges because of changing schedules! Summer camps, vacation, VBS, and other events can cause life to get chaotic fast! (Especially when you are just as busy as your children). Here are six tips I have found that help makes the busy weeks less stressful!
1. Lower Your Expectations
This is one of my favorite pieces of advice I have received! When we are going into a busy week I know a few things that will happen every time: my younger children will be irritable from lack of sleep, my house will be messier, and there will be more obstacles in communication with my spouse. Decide from the beginning to not let the extra clutter and fussiness ruin your time.
2. Have a Family Meeting
When our family has a busy day or week approaching, we have a family meeting. During that meeting time, I try and give everyone a feel for how the week will go. Taking the time to explain what things will be like will help your children deal with new and sometimes stressful situations. Giving your children an idea of the schedule, and if there will be a time they need to occupy themselves quietly, can help them prepare. If they will be meeting new people, take a minute and tell them who they are and their names. We have had family meetings for so long now our kids expect them! Family meetings also teach your children to plan ahead and think of what they will need and how they can help!
3. No Questions Policy
This may sound mean, but let me explain. Often when we are on vacation or have a day where I am not in charge of the schedule, I have a “No Questions Policy.” These type of questions include things such as “What are we having for lunch?”, “What time are we eating dinner?” and “When will we get home?” I will try and provide information to them as I know it, but sometimes there are things out of my control. I want my children ready to handle whatever life hands them, and often that means having patience. I have also found that when we have done a family meeting our children will tend to ask fewer questions.
4. Know How Your Child Responds to Stressful Situations
I have been guilty of reprimanding a child only to realize they were acting out as a way of dealing with a stressful situation. As a reaction to stres some children become clingy, some become quiet, and some become fussy. Knowing how your child handles stress can help you identify a behavioral problem versus an anxiety issue.
5. Plan Ahead
This probably goes without saying, but plan ahead! Everything from clothing, shoes, meals, snacks, and even having an umbrella handy can make a big difference. If your schedule will be unpredictable, have plenty of extra snacks on hand. There is nothing worse than hungry kids (or spouse). If you have a child that gets motion sickness in the car, Amazon sells vomit bags similar to what you get on an airplane. (You can thank me later)
6. Don’t Forget to Have a Good Time and Make Memories
Even the best-made plans can go awry. Years from now now your children probably won’t remember if there were dishes in the sink or mud on their shoes. However, they will remember the fun times they had and the special memories you made as a family!
Hope you have a fun summer!