3 Top Positive Parenting Tips that I’ll definitely be practicing this summer to stay sane & actually enjoy the season!
Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets a little nervous heading into summer with my little ones. Don’t get me wrong..there’s so many things that are alluring about this upcoming season...longer days, warm dips in the ocean, a solid break from lunch packing duties, neighborhood block parties, sleep ins (yes, my kids are finally old enough to actually sleep in a bit!) and of course tons of time with my feet in the sand with my kiddos on wide open beaches...the sea is our happy place and during the summer, we get tons of time there!
However, when I think of summer, feelings of anxiety & worry creep up pretty quickly about being together non-stop with my amazing (yet sometimes challenging) little mini humans.
-How will I get any work done?
-Will I go crazy dealing with their bickering? (If you’ve ever heard me teach on sibling rivalry, you know I’m super honest about the sibling rivalry & conflict struggle being VERY real in our house!)
-How will I find time to exercise and take care of myself?
-Will my little guy have massive tears when I go to drop him off at summer camp?
-How will I enforce bedtimes when the sun basically doesn’t set till 9pm!?!
-How in the heck am I going to keep these kids busy?
-Will we have fun?
-Or will I slip into that stressed out, “not appreciating the moment” Momma mode that I dread (but am well versed in).
When you think of summer with your kiddos, what comes up for you? Whether you work full-time, part-time, side-time, or ALL the time (don’t we ALL work all the time as Mommas?)...heading into summer is a balancing act that deserves some proactivity and planning.
Here are 3 Positive Parenting Tips that I’ll definitely be using in my own home that I’m confident will help me get smoothly through this epic season with joy.
1. Start Hosting Weekly Family Meetings
Family meetings are one of my favorite activities to put into practice on a consistent basis and definitely so helpful before special seasons, holidays, vacations, etc. They are a place where children can practice lots; asserting their feelings, conflict resolution and leadership skills, while learning to listen to other people’s viewpoints and support each other’s needs and dreams.
I recommend that parents set the stage for success on the first few meetings. They should be short, fun and super inviting, meaning 10 minutes is plenty long, or even 5 minutes if you’ve got teeny toddlers. In the beginning, it’s great to start out with an encouragement feast (see below!) or a game, then cover a few important topics about the upcoming week or important rules everyone needs to remember. The object is to encourage everyone to attend so it can be a team building activity, while also a healthy ground to create agreements. Try your best to keep the gatherings light and point out to your kids what you WANT to see from them, or the rules that important for them to follow, vs. what you don’t want. (If you’ve ever heard me teach on “Close your eyes & do NOT picture a giant gray elephant”....this is that concept. It works a lot better to ask for what we want vs. what we DON’T want, make sense?)
Pull in the calendar for the week (or season), write the top 3 rules of the house and how following them is important in order to do fun activities, then try out an encouragement feast.
Then finish off with some frozen yogurt & fresh fruit and/or a dance party. Most importantly, have fun & relish in the fact that your family crew is awesome and stronger when you do life together as a team!
2.) Create a Calendar
This can be simple and you can do it together to make it a collaborative effort. Here’s a simple template that you can download to post to the fridge for all the weekly activities or here’s another template that has a more detailed daily outline to include tasks like reading, chores & meditation.
Be sure to highlight the fun outings and things the kids will look forward to as these work great to motivate them to get the more “unfun” tasks done in order to move on to the fun ones!
Just remember to teach them about sequences, which look like this:
“First we have to read, do our chores & brush our teeth, then we get to head to the park”
Using bribery or rewards on a constant basis, such as:
“If you clean your room, I’ll take you to the park”.
Teaching sequences helps them learn this is just what happens in life (we all have responsibilities and duties as members of our family) vs. “What will I get if I do what I’m told to?”. Pretty sure all of don’t want teenagers one day who have a constant “What’s in it for me” mentality? Make sense?
Kids love knowing “what to expect”, so whether you create calendars as a team or on your own, be sure to share all the details with them (letting them decorate the calendars is a great way to include them), so they feel like they’ve contributed. Helping empower them in this way will go a long way (especially for those of you who have power kids!).
3.) Keep things Light and remember to Laugh!
Families...I know, I know...sometimes our kids do things that really get under our skin and irritate the heck out of us, especially during seasons when we’re with them 24/7. I get it, I really do, and this section is really written for myself because I often take life WAY too seriously, but one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received (and passed on to others) is to lighten up & laugh more! I have found in my own home that 99% of the time, when I find humor in a situation and laugh about it, the tension dissolves quickly and we’re able to move on, and get back to enjoying life together. Summer is the season of lightness right? Fresh fruit, light clothing, garden fresh salads, putting the top down on the jeep, less makeup, air dried hair, and some splurges here and there (ice cream cones anyone?). So let’s let that carry through to our parenting. If the kids stay up a little too late and are a nightmare the next day, find someone to laugh about it with. Should someone belch at the dinner table, be human, it’s funny & ok to giggle! Or if the kids are fighting again, over something ridiculously stupid, like a broken crayon or slime (yes, slime is a big deal in our house right now….home made slime to make it worse!)...find humor in it and just smile!
The truth is, our kids will not be this little forever, and I promise you, we will all look back at this time when they were “this small” and miss it, no matter if you have a teeny toddler or a budding tween. So let’s try our best to appreciate all the moments and find the lightness in them, even the annoying ones. In reality, most of the things we’re dealing with regarding our kids are pretty light compared to what others in different parts of the world are facing. Here’s a few funny meme’s to get you started on the laughter train and of course a Jim Gaffigan skit on parenthood, gosh I love Jim Gaffigan!
Join me for a free 7 Day Positive Parenting Challenge that starts June 15th. Together, we’ll cover a different topic each day and learn 7 small, yet powerful steps to create peace, joy and connection in our homes this summer.
It’s super easy...click below to register & then via email (along with a big community of like minded families), you’ll receive 7 days of short videos, tips & support to get your summer started off with intention and integrity!
So families, choose one of those three tips and take a stab at implementing it into your family life this summer. Starting with one is always a good idea, then move on to the others because if you’re anything like me, doing three things at once always seems like a great idea, but I often end up feeling overwhelmed.
Enjoy those munchkins, take care of yourself daily and remember to indulge yourself a bit (after all, strawberry margaritas on the beach at noon are allowed in the summer right?).
Cheers to joyful parenting families!