By Charity Hagains MA LPCS
The last day of school brings a thrilling anticipation for lazy mornings, long lasting days, and a break from the norm. That excitement quickly fades when we realize that the routine we had all been trying to break free of is what has kept the ship afloat. Although summer is a much needed change from the status quo, it can be difficult to manage a household of children without those normal operating procedures. Here are a few tips to keep your sanity during these dog days of summer.
- Don’t toss the whole schedule
Retaining some of your normal day is essential for keeping your sanity. Perhaps the time of day changes, but the order of the day can still remain intact. Keeping the morning and evening routines the same will take some of the pressure off mid day activities.
- Make a plan, then throw it out!
It’s nice to have a plan for what your day is going to be, but lets get real. With kids involved, nothing goes according to plan. The disappointment of an unmet expectation can be the most difficult part of a fun summer plan. While you may have a vision of what you would like for your family this summer, remember that it won’t be perfectly accomplished, but it will be perfect for your specific family…no matter how different it turns out.
- Take a time-out
With kiddos being out of school, it means a lot more juggling for the parents. It’s important to take some time away for yourselves each week. If that’s putting the kids to bed early or sending them to “camp grandma” for a night, you need to let yourselves take some time for yourselves.
- Practice forgiveness
The compassion of forgiveness is difficult but necessary. With so much more interaction time between family members, there are much more opportunities to argue, snap at, or outright attack one another. During those difficult moments, try to cultivate forgiveness and compassion for those around you (including yourself). When you snap at the kids because the noise level has reached atomic levels or late bed times have gotten the better of your otherwise pleasant mood, remember you are human too and forgive yourself. Likewise, practice understanding and forgiveness with others. The kids are also out of sorts during the summer, and we have to remember and adjust our perceptions for that.
Yep, the best part of summer is giving yourself the excuse to play! There are tons of chores to be done with everyone being home more during the day, but don’t let the to-do list overtake your inner fun seeker. Let the dishes sit after dinner, and play a game instead. Let the laundry pile up for a day, and enjoy floating in the pool. Dance in the kitchen, and order take out instead of slaving over a hot stove. These are important moments for your family and for yourself. Let yourself enjoy them, and worry about the to-do list in the fall.