5 Strategies to Kick Off Summer with Joy & Confidence
5 Strategies to Kick Off Summer with Joy & Confidence
Every year as summer approaches, I can feel my personality splitting like Jekel and Hyde.
On one hand, I’m so excited for relaxed mornings, play dates on the block with neighbors, long days with gorgeous sunsets, lazy afternoons on the beach watching my kids frolic in the pacific ocean, a break from packing school lunches and warm tropical breezes.
Ahhhh, this California girl LOVES summer!
But on the other hand, I’m terrified.
Terrified of how in the world I’ll keep the peace in my home with two very active, strong-willed, silly & wonderful little humans who leave trails of crumbs, legos & sibling squabbles behind everywhere they go! … AND at the same time run a business that includes a staff of two and over 200 members from all over the world who look to me to keep them encouraged & supported.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling as SO many parents face the same conundrum every June as summer hits & school lets out.
No matter if you work full time, or stay at home with your little wild & wonderful humans … summer can take you down & turn you into crazy pants parent if you’re not careful, ya feel me?
But don’t fret, I’m here to help.
As a positive parenting educator & coach who’s not only survived, but managed to thrive through over a decade of these “summer breaks”, I have lots to encourage you with.
Consider implementing these 5 positive parenting mindset shifts, communication methods & problem solving strategies to get your summer started on the right foot.
1.) Mindset, mindset, mindset
Parents, let’s start out with the facts … none of us have perfect kiddos living under our roof & NONE of us are perfect parents.
Let’s head into summer with realistic expectations.
- There will be sibling squabbles.
- The house may be a mess more often than not.
- Your kiddo may throw an attitude your way here and there.
- You may completely lose your s*%t on them one or twice (a week).
- There will probably be some tough mornings getting to camp on time when everyone’s slept a little too late.
- Your kids will have some evenings where they are a mess because they stayed up too late.
- You may have a road-trip or plane trip that is a nightmare.
The important thing here is to trust positive parenting psychology that teaches us that misbehavior = communication. Our kids aren’t out to get us, they aren’t selfish brats, they aren’t entitled kids who don’t know how good they have it.
They’re just kids, trying to figure out how to do this thing we call life. They too, are just trying to have a great summer. We’re on the same page, we really are!
Our job is to learn more about what’s underneath their misbehavior (a request for help getting a need met) and then guide them towards healthy action & behavior. All of this is a LOT easier & more joyful when we keep the correct mindset engaged. We can help them communicate their needs in a healthy, respectful way … it just takes practice, on everyone’s part … and summer gives us lots of ground (together) to practice!
2.) Freshen Up Your Communication
It’s good to realize when our communication has gotten stale. When you become aware that you pretty much say the same thing to your kids, day in & day out, but still don’t get the results you want. Then later find yourself complaining to your spouse that the kids just won’t listen & you’re exhausted?
Yep, that whole scenario when we sound like the Charlie Brown teacher “wah wah wah wah wah” sounds familiar to lots of us right?
Instead of staying in the land of defeat, switch things up.
Here’s some ideas to get you going:
- Get creative – brainstorm ALL of their fave animals or sports stars that you can compare them to or inspire them to be like.
- I.e. quiet as a mouse, fast like a racehorse, strong like Steph Currie, respectful like Coach Katie, slow like a turtle.
- Give them choices – use these fun animals & choices to guide them towards action
- I.e. Do you want to run to the car like a racehorse or cheetah? Do you want to help me with these groceries with your muscles that are as strong as Lebron’s or lean like Kobe’s? Do you want to brush your teeth slow like a turtle or mega slow like a sloth?
- Be willing to try some new things – if a power struggle starts to go down, start talking in an english accent or go do 10 jumping jacks to break up the energy. Once everyone is giggling, try again to get your kids to move towards action.
- Ask for what you want – Instead of always saying what you DON’T want “Don’t do that, Stop touching that, Don’t be rude”, start guiding your kids towards the light by asking for what you want. This not only works better to get them to comply, it FEELS way better as a parent.
- Look in their eyes – Slow down & take a moment to put your hand on their shoulder softly, look in their gorgeous eyes and connect with them as you ask them to cooperate. This works wonders.
3.) Work WITH Them When Power Struggles Arise
It’s so important that we understand that when our kids push back, this is NOT a bad thing.
Kids who push limits, test boundaries and negotiate lots are usually either in a power surge stage of life (where it is absolutely developmentally appropriate & necessary that they push back – this helps their brain develop like it is supposed to!) …. or they have a strong desire to lead.
Power surge stages of life include toddlers, tweens & teens and when we see their behavior as normal, it’s much easier to handle it with integrity.
For the kids that ALWAYS seem to push back, commit to thinking of them as future leaders, which YOU have the incredible opportunity to influence & teach HOW to lead with respect.
Once you’re seeing them as wonderful little souls (instead of the pain in the neck kiddo who is always the one making life difficult), ask yourself these three questions on a daily basis:
How can I empower this kiddo more? Jobs around the house, asking them to be in charge of things, allowing them to help with the baby, letting them choose what fruit you’ll serve with breakfast …. these are all examples of things that will FILL kids up who have a strong desire to feel powerful (lessoning their chance of misbehaving)
How can I make him right today more? Power kids are often told how wrong they are …. ALL. DAY. LONG. Stop this, don’t do that, stop saying no, don’t act like that, no you can’t do that, stop being like that, etc. In addition to hating being told what to do, it’s hurtful to feel like no one gets you or even makes an attempt to see the beauty you bring to a family.
Commit to changing the way you work with your little power souls & the whole family will feel a much lighter, more positive energy this summer.
4.) Look at What You are Modeling
As you head into summer, commit to taking care of yourself & cleaning up your own cobwebs first. This will do WONDERS to drive great behavior in your kids, I promise you.
When it comes to self-care & filling up your own bucket, make time for:
- Date Nights
- Healthy Eating
- Getting Enough Rests (or letting yourself nap guilt free sometimes)
- Counseling / Therapy / Personal Development Classes
- Hot Baths Alone (even if it’s just 15 min!)
- Walks in silence (withOUT your smartphone)
In addition, be real about the actions you need to clean up & commit to getting the help to do so.
- If you’re asking your kids to stop yelling, do the work yourself to stop yelling.
- If you’re asking your kids to stop giving you an attitude, commit to doing the same with them.
- If you’re telling your kids to keep their rooms clean, commit to also doing the same in your own room & bathroom.
- If you’re telling your kids to slow down & breathe & use their words instead of throwing toys & slamming doors, make sure you’re showing them what that looks like first (in heated moments).
Modeling is MASSIVE families. It’s the hardest to change & the MOST powerful in influencing change in families, so lean into this area as much as you can.
5.) Use Logical Consequences to Discipline vs. Throwing Down Punishment
Kids are going to make mistakes and so are parents.
Life is ALL about learning from our mistakes. Without them, we’d be perfect and since that doesn’t exist in ANY family, we need to make sure we have a way of teaching how to repair mistakes & make ammends that build kids up (instead of pushing them down).
Here’s some tips to help you make your discipline respectful, firm, kind & full of connection.
- Have your “teaching talks” outside while your’e walking the dog around the neighborhood or throwing the football.
- Your kids will listen a lot better if they’re moving.
- Use the 4 R’s to align your discipline with the mistake they made:
- Teaches Responsibility
It may take some brainstorming, but slow down & plan out this process because just dropping random punishments out of the air to “make them pay” only creates disconnection & bitterness.
Designing “learning lessons” that are directly correlated with what happened & the lesson you want your child to learn works incredibly well to guide kids towards better behavior tomorrow (I’ve witnessed this with my own kids for the last decade – logical consequences works SO well!).
I hope you’ll try some of these strategies this summer & throughout the year with your kiddos. I’m always here rooting for you & cheering you on!