Summer is almost here. This means the kids will be out of school. They will be home and they will want you to find something for them to do. You have work, a husband and a house to take care of. What are you going to do with your kids?
Summer is supposed to be a happy time, a playful time. The sun is shining, the grass is green and it’s time to play. It’s time to slow down. So, why are so many people stressed out during the summer?
In our fast paced society, a lot of people don’t want to slow down. This creates stress. If you ask me, it creates a lot of unnecessary stress. You are so worried about getting ahead, that you forget to have fun. Fun is good for you. It can change your mood and your mindset. Parenting is an important job, but you don’t want to lose yourself in the process.
Here are 5 tips for parents to help reduce stress during the summer:
- Stay away from the bad news, and be a “good news” junkie. When you turn on the news it is usually bad. This will affect your mindset. You will start to questions things and have a hard time trusting. You will think negatively about the world you live in, and the world you are raising your kids in. I think we are prone to focus on the negative. Especially, when it is in front of us every minute of the day. Limit the news to a half an hour a day. Then, start to look for the good news. Talk about it with your friends and family. Share it on social media. After a while, it will become a habit and you will begin to feel better about yourself and the world you live in.
- Set up a realistic sleep schedule. I’m sure you already know, as a parent you will experience fatigue. Don’t stress too much over it. It’s easy to worry about how you will feel tomorrow, when you don’t get enough sleep today. Meaning, you are worried you will be an emotional wreck and make horrible decisions. This is when you need to let yourself off the hook. Don’t be a control freak. I know when you have young children, that sleep deprivation can be a problem. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and then wake up at the same time in the morning. Remember, this is a work in progress. Learn to let go when the schedule doesn’t work out and make exceptions.
- Time is your friend. You don’t have to be in a rush. Give yourself time to meet your goals. Whether they are for yourself or your family. You will eventually get there. Slow down and enjoy the process. When you are in a hurry, you miss a lot of things. Your children are going to remember the time you spent with them, not how much you worked or what you bought for them.
- Change your expectations. I know if the beginning you thought you could do it all, or it wouldn’t be that difficult. If you’ve been a parent for a while, you may see things differently. Which is a good thing. You aren’t perfect and neither is anyone in your family. So, stop expecting them to be. We can’t predict the future and we can’t go back. This means let go and learn to go with the flow. Your family will thank you for it. Not all children are alike. Some love art while others excel in math and science. Let your child explore their likes and dislikes. Also, they aren’t going to like everything that you like. Learn to accept it and move on. Just as you are always changing, so is your family.
- Help your kids deal with their own stresses, and teach them how to get along with their siblings. I know you want to be there for your child. No one likes to see their child hurting. But, realistically you can’t do everything for them. They need to learn how to cope with their feelings. As they get older talk about their feelings with them. Let them know that everyone has a range of feelings, and that this is normal. Offer them alternatives when they want something you can’t give them. They can have fresh juice rather than candy or a soda. This will help teach them self-control. Now, it’s time to start negotiating. Siblings can learn to get along. Just because you do one thing for one kid doesn’t mean you will do it for another. It’s important they know this and they understand why. With a little compromise it will work. When your kids learn to compromise with one another, they will learn to compromise with others. This will help them in the long run.
Start to put these tips into action. When you do, you will have a much better summer. Remember, to stay in the present and slow down a little bit. Life is really much better when you can enjoy it with your family.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many women conquer their stress and enjoy life. For a free phone consultation or more information, please call or email (650) 892-0357 or firstname.lastname@example.org.