It’s summer! The kids are home, family parties are on the horizon and everybody wants to go to the pool. It’s supposed to be a fun time, but your stress level is at an all-time high.
Often, summer stress is a consequence of a disrupted daily routine. Graduation parties, weddings, family reunions, and entertaining kids and tweens all day takes a toll. While the kids enjoy a break from school, summer vacation actually means summer stress for parents who have to keep their children occupied. Schedules go crazy, expenses pile up and parents have to juggle work on top of caregiving.
Kid-boredom sets in all too quickly. Sibling spats can lead to tension. It can make a parent feel out of control of their own environment and contribute to child-adult conflict. Looming summer vacations from school can bring on a lot of anxiety for everyone in the family.
Here are some ways the experts have identified to reduce stress and to manage time that will make summertime living easy again.
• Write a set of daily chores that the kids contract to complete in order to have other privileges. Maybe they must tidy their rooms, make their beds, help with the laundry or put away dishes before they can be free to play with their friends.
• Keep the kids occupied. If the kids are not enrolled in summer camp or other programs, develop projects that they can work on. These can be nature-themed, like creating a book of pressed flowers or compiling a list of birds and animals spotted while playing outside; craft projects such as sewing, painting, ceramics or jewelry making; or keeping a journal. Projects can keep kids occupied, give them a sense of accomplishment and be a stress-reducing benefit for moms.
• Summer can be a time to teach kids new responsibilities. Maybe the kids have matured enough to take responsibility for caring for the family pet. Or maybe the kids can help with outdoor chores such as lawn mowing and weeding. As kids learn to contribute to the household, they also learn more about being responsible, which will be helpful as your kids mature and assume more responsibility.
• You may find that using a bright new organizing journal will help you tame all of those summer activities, events and social gatherings that keep tumbling into your lap. Staying organized can give you a sense of control over the chaos.
• Lastly, remember that you have Outreach in your corner! We offer free parenting consults to help Mom and Dad address issues as they arise and to fully address short-term behaviors and conditions that place the family in distress. Yes, it does take a village!
Outreach Teen & Family Services in a nonprofit, confidential counseling service. We offer counseling and educational programs to children and parents that are affordable, accessible and discreet; all within a welcoming, supportive environment.