5 Tips for Preventing Parenting Burnout this Summer
School vacation is a great time for traveling, camping, and building family relationships with fun activities. But, let's be REAL: You can already hear the kids bickering & whining. It is just a matter of time before you hear "I'm Bored" and "I don't want to do THAT!" Pretty soon, you are going to feel so stressed out that YOU won't want to do anything with them.
We've all been there. So, here are 5 Tips to keep your SANITY this summer and prevent parenting burnout:
1) Make a summer bucket List
Take some popsicle sticks and write creative ideas on each one. Then place them into a jar and take them out when you could use some some ideas to fight boredom.
Make One FAMILY Bucket List & One Kids' Rainy Day Bucket List. Check out our List of ideas HERE
2) Allow your kids to make the CHOICE to be bored
You know it's coming. You made this awesome jar filled with fun and creative activities, but your kid REFUSES to use it. Ugh. It will happen at least once. I promise.
These moment are a great for teaching kids about autonomy and what they CAN control. Simply say to them "I hear that you don't think any of this interesting today. That's okay. You can make that choice. You can choose to be bored OR you can choose to do something with your time." Then WALK AWAY. Oh , and remind yourself that being bored is actually really HEALTHY for kids. It teaches them how to self-regulate and occupy themselves. I can't tell you how many families come into my office and talk about how dependent the kids are on electronics. The meltdowns. The flip-outs that happen every time they are told to get off it. In our culture, children are learning that they need to be ENTERTAINED. By devices. By adults. It just isn't healthy. So, allowing your child the opportunity to figure it out will help them tremendously in the future. Think about it, they are going to have to wait for people, wait for appointments, and be patient. It's not your job to entertain them all day.
When you are feeling guilty this summer, because we all do at some point, for not doing "enough" with them, look at the all of the family activities from your bucket list that you already accomplished. This will remind you that it is THEIR inability to TOLERATE entertaining themselves that is causing the behavior, NOT your lack of attention to them. Let them figure it out. They need it. I promise.
3) Create a Routine that Promotes Quiet and Working Together
When you come home from a long day after picking the kids up from camp or childcare, send everyone to their bedrooms. If they share a room, designate a certain area of the house for them instead. Allow everyone 15-20 minutes of alone time to decompress from the day. Allow YOURSELF time to decompress from the day or complete a chore without being interrupted 100x. This also helps kids to practice tolerating boredom each day.
Set aside one hour each week for family chores. Have everyone participate by cleaning their rooms as well as one chore that contributes to the house. This will reduce YOUR workload and make them more likely to do chores. Kids do not love hierarchies. So, if they see you cleaning, too, then you are more likely to be successful in getting them to comply.
4) Do Something for YOU this summer without the kids
Go on a day trip (or overnight ;) , Enjoy dinner out with your partner, Participate in your favorite hobby (Golf, scrap-booking, kayaking, etc). Remember, you are MORE than JUST A PARENT and you deserve to treat yourself that way. Self-care is a form of self-respect.
5) Do Something outside of your usual Routine each week.
When you are doing the same things in the same place all of the time, your brain stores this information and automatically recalls all of the stress associated with it. Give your brain a mini-vacation by changing the scenery or the task.
Go for a walk somewhere new. Spend time with someone you haven't seen in a long time. Travel to different parks or beaches. Drive a different route to work.
Remember, Summer Vacation is supposed to be FUN. Try new things. Plan ahead. Spend time alone each day to decompress. Let your kids learn to be bored. Take care of yourself.
Thanks for reading & don't forget to share your SUMMER BUCKET LIST IDEAS in the comments!