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Summertime Parenting

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 2:20 PM

Parenting school-aged children over the summer can be a challenge for any parent. For nearly ten months out of the year, we have a routine and a strict schedule where we are typically very busy managing our own personal and professional lives. It is difficult to switch gears mid-June as all the busy-ness seems to come to a screeching halt. There are so many concerns that plague the minds of many parents over the summer. How much studying or learning should my kids be doing so they do not “fall behind?” How much play time and free time should I give my kids so they can learn to entertain themselves and get all the value from the experience of play? How do I keep them from being bored, being rambunctious, and making me lose my mind?

 

These worries alone can put a good deal of unnecessary stress on you and your family during a time that is supposed to be fun and relaxing. These worries may cause you to begin counting the days until your kids can go back to school and wanting to pull out your hair more than ever. Let us consider three tips on how to make parenting over the summer more enjoyable and less stressful and worrisome.

 

1. Seek out balance.

 

Despite all the concern in our society about our kids falling behind academically, we have to remember that they spent all year getting a lot of new information crammed into their brains. The summer can be the time to let that information sink in more and be applied in ways they did not have time for during the school year. If given enough and a variety of opportunities, our kids will naturally apply those skills and capitalize on what they learned. We can, perhaps, expect a small amount of time dedicated each day to reading, writing, spelling and/or math, but it does not need to be an all-day activity. Summer is great for being casual about learning through an array of opportunities and experiences. Finding balance in work and play is key to having a successful summer with your kids.

 

2. Consider what works for YOU as well as what works for your children.

 

When it comes to how much time to dedicate to different types of activities, summer gives us the freedom to decide not only what our kids need but also what works and does not work for us as parents. The summer can be a time to take a break from the frustration and arguments that often revolve around homework, so do not force your child to do more sit-down work than they can tolerate as it will cause stress for them and you. Let them do the hard work of figuring out how to entertain themselves. In the summer, as parents we have the ability to accommodate ourselves better than we do during the school year. Take the opportunity not to force yourself into a stressed-out state, if it does not work for you….let it go!

 

3. Have fun.

 

The summer is a great time for families to be together, to have fun, and to learn and grow together. There are so many places to go, and there are options for every family with every level of income. Find the things your kids like to do and engage with them, ask them questions, get their brains thinking while having fun and bonding. Let them have fun on their own and with you. Remember that children develop differently, and different traits develop at different rates. What you worry about in the winter, your child may catch up on over the summer (but probably not if you and s/he is stressed out).

 

Overall, let summer be what we all want it to be - fun and relaxing for the family. You will see the information your children learned over the school year pour out of their little minds, and you will feel relieved. There is so much more to life and learning than academics and so much can be done together as a family and with fun.

 

If it turns out that you continue to have serious concerns about your child’s development and learning capabilities, there are resources to address this. Consider psychological and neurological testing, therapy, community and educational resources. There is no reason to suffer and struggle. My colleagues and I are here to support you and your families with all of those needs.

 

Stacey Dalton, MA LPC



 

Categories: Children and Parenting

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