Summers have a tendency to allow a kind of chaos that most of us avoid throughout the rest of the year. We are tempted to let kids sleep in as late as they want, give leeway with chores and responsibilities and generally allow a more laissez faire environment. While it is called “summer break” for a reason, it is important to keep in mind that kids actually thrive in structure. With brains still developing, children under 18 years old need to maintain a sense of structure and responsibility even throughout the summer. Encourage your children to keep to a sleep schedule. This may be more flexible than during the school year, but sleeping in until Noon and staying up until 3:00 AM is not conducive for a developing brain, nor a manageable attitude. Maintaining a schedule of sleep throughout the summer will help your children to be more engaged throughout the day, have more accommodating attitudes and will help the transition back to the school year to go more smoothly.
Another important thing to implement during the summer is to give your children certain chores around the house to continue to encourage a responsibility and discipline. Children who have responsibilities at home are more likely to take responsibility in their own lives and feel a sense of ownership over their attitudes, feelings and behaviors. In essence, by giving your children weekly or daily chores, you benefit by gaining a cleaner home and a more pleasant child!
Lastly, don’t let the disruption of summer cause a disturbance in your marriage. With changing schedules and children at home, it can become difficult to carve out time to spend with your spouse. Having a strong marital relationship, however, is a key foundation to raising secure children who know they are loved. Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day connecting with your spouse, catching up on the day and affirming one another. Getting even this little time together will help to ward off miscommunications, disconnection and frustration. Hopefully with these few tips you can find a way to thrive during the summer without feeling the need to count down the days!
For more information contact Lindsey Wright, MA, LPC Intern