What do you do when you find yourself stressed with coping with the kids being off for Summer? When you dream of summer holidays you imagine a welcome break from the daily routines of scheduled activities, time for relaxation, enjoyable outings and awesome vacations. But for those days when things aren’t going smoothly, here are 6 Top Tips For Surviving The Summer Months With the Kids:
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In summer holidays the dream sometimes turns to a nightmare with kids constantly complaining about being bored, with constant sibling bickering and squabbles. Are you getting stressed or frustrated with your children’s behaviour this summer?
If you are looking for better ways of coping with the kids being off for summer and how not to lose your cool, this might help.
Anita glances in the mirror as she washes her hands. Her hair looks like it hasn’t seen a brush all day. No makeup. And she notices the frown-mark developing between her eyebrows. She grimaces as she thinks how different this holiday is turning out to be than the happy family pictures on the web-page advertising the dream vacation.
She can hear her husband grumbling at the kids, “Now stop that!” I can’t even take a five-minute break without the kids squabbling! Something needs to change!
It’s easy to get so caught up in the everyday challenges of parenting that we can’t see how to do differently, even on holidays. For those days when things aren’t going smoothly, here are six pointers to coping with the kids being off for summer.
You might also enjoy reading 10 Simple Ways for Parents to Stop Themselves Yelling
#1. Choose Calm
It’s easy when the kids are acting out to get stressed. But your stress only increases their tension, which means they are more likely to act out – which means everyone’s stress level rises.
Hard is it sounds, you can choose calm. For practical steps on how to do this, read my quick-read book “Stop Yelling – 9 Steps to Calmer, Happier Parenting”
#2. The Only Person You Can Change is Yourself
Rather than trying to change the kids’ behaviour, focus on what you wish to model in your interactions. If you resort to yelling, shaming, labeling, angry silence, or other demeaning behaviours, your kids will learn that from you.
Your calm response or reactive behaviour helps to calm the atmosphere or to fuel tensions. Let your calm be stronger than your family’s reactivity. The strongest emotion wins!
You might also enjoy reading Don’t Feel Guilty When You Tell Your Kids to Go Outside and Play
#3. Observe Your Own Reactions
If you do react in a situation, once you’ve had time to calm down, ask yourself what you could have done differently at that point before you lost the cool. Instead of feeling helpless about your yelling, notice the options you had at that point.
- You could have taken yourself and your kids out for some fresh air to work off energy.
- You could have noticed your anger mounting and stepped away – you could have taken a moment to pause and figure out what was going on for you.
- You could have consciously chosen calm.
You might also enjoy reading What To Do When Your Kids Fight Continually
#4. Focus on What is Working
You probably knew what you wanted when you planned the holiday, but when things aren’t going smoothly it’s easy to focus on what you don’t want – to be so focused on the negatives that you don’t see what is going well. Rather, observe what is working and build on that.
It’s easy to focus on the squabbles or challenging behaviour, but usually that just adds to our sense of stress, without offering solutions. It’s easier to figure out how to have a good time by noticing the dynamics at play when things are going well.
#5 Have Fun and Relaxed Times Together
When you have fun times together, your body releases “feel good” chemicals, that are the natural antidote to the stress. When your family have more fun, your children are less likely to get into squabbles or act out in other challenging ways.
Which means there is likely to be less of the reactive behaviour that adds to your stress level, so you’ll be more relaxed and find it easier to cope, which means everyone will be happier!
You might also enjoy reading 25 Special Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Child
#6. Take it Easy
Having fun together doesn’t mean having to be always on the go. Part of our holiday stress is often because there is too much change and “buzz”. Sometimes less is more.
- Put the technology away.
- Read a book together.
- Have a picnic.
- Give them props to create a puppet show.
- Take a stroll.
- Watch the stars.
- Play board games.
Particularly with younger children, having time to relax together, doing more familiar things, can be key to coping well when the kids are off for the summer.
For example, Anita noticed that one of the positives of the previous day was that they’d had a relaxed, enjoyable breakfast that morning. When she thought about it, she realised on that morning she hadn’t worried about making an early start or fussing about a big breakfast.
When she reflected on what was working she recognised it had been easier for her to stay calm when they had a more relaxed schedule. They’d had fun playing simple card games with the children. She realised that when she and her husband were calmer, the children responded better toward their parents and towards each other. They all did better when there was less hype and a more relaxed pace.
My new parenting book “Stop Yelling – 9 Steps to Calmer Happier Parenting” is now available on Amazon and I’m delighted to report that it gets 5 star reviews. If you want to know how to respond when there’s sibling conflict or other family hiccups over the summer, then this will help.
Now it’s over to you. Which of these tips helps you in coping with the kids being off for the summer months? What low-cost activities do you recommend to have more fun as a family? What helps you to be the parent you want to be, so that coping with kids in the summer is not a nightmare but a mindset that gives you space to flow with the ups and downs of family life? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.