by Samantha Sawyer
Does the pace of summer activities have you waking up each morning prepared to run the race, to fight the good fight? Now that the kids are home all day, do you find yourself secretly scheming to sneak in a daily nap (for yourself!) just so you have enough steam to make it through the second part of the day? Yes, you—busted!
Summer months seem to inspire children to nag their caregivers more and more skillfully than ever with statements such as, “I’m so-o-o bored. Come play with me!!! Don’t you love me?” No matter what games you suggest, or which extracurricular activities you enroll them in, your children beg for more – more - MORE attention.
Face it. All kids are alike. They crave the attention of those they love. They love you. They whine for you. You were the same way. You know this game.
Your mother told you that you’d get yours some day, and payback is here!
Your mom knows this, too, but she hasn’t let on. That’s why she’s not available to babysit summers in the weekend. She’s enjoying life at the lake. You wish you were there, too. You’re on your own, kiddo!
So what are you going to do about it? You could pout, just like your kids seem to, but that won’t help you. Deep down you know that’s true, even though you’re certain that your children will all find fame and fortune in future sales careers.
Consider this: Entertain-me pressure commonly occurs when children are off-schedule because they lack the sense of internal security that the rhythm of a good routine provides. As a result, they are seeking connection and security from the adults they love most. (And who would that be? That’s right.)
It is impossible to set a routine since one child has swimming lessons, another has music lessons and the third one needs to be shuttled to her friend’s house for a play date….all within the same half hour? Enter “simplicity”.
Children are asked to live in a fast-paced adult world. This interferes with their natural, slow pace of kid life. Kid-paced life allows children to grow into their full, unique selves in a way that brings contentment, ease, and the ability to behave. (Oh, yes, they really can. Have faith.)
Summer months challenge children’s ability to hold it together because of all the things on the schedule. This, in turn, tests adults’ ability to keep the schedule and family dynamic operating smoothly. Now you know what mom really felt like underneath that patient smile as she kept the car running, the washing machine humming, and the meals coming—all on schedule.
To set your child up for success this summer, and allow fun experiences without sacrificing your sanity, or their responsibility to behave nicely, follow these two tips:
1. Practice present-moment connection with your child. Set multitasking aside and focus solely on the present moment for 30-minute blocks of time. This deep, tuned-in connection is a good time to talk about the task-at-hand, discuss feelings and make observations about the world around them. This type of connection is another way to boost her internal sense of security so she won’t demand your constant attention.
2. Create a visual schedule with your child of her sleep routine. No matter what event (or crisis!) pops up in the daytime, going to sleep at night will never change. Take pictures of the five to seven steps your child’s nighttime routine involves, and hang it at her eye level. Review and follow it with her for the first week, and pretty soon she’ll follow it independently. This routine gives your child a sense of security and helps her wind down at night so she drifts easily into sleep. That means that you can too!
Finally, here’s a third tip for those of you who call up your mom and invite her over for a summer barbecue. If you dedicate yourself to completely fawning over her and thanking her for all the good things she’s done for you over the years (aka “heartfelt appreciation”) you may find yourself with a willing babysitter.
If you play your cards right, you may not even have to ask. And, so, how much would it be worth to you to get away for a few hours of fun with your partner in life (and parenthood)? I thought so. Pick up that phone now.
For more FREE tips on rejuvenating your energy so you have plenty for a whole summer of fun visit Samantha’s blog at http://www.brighteningconnections.com/blog. If you wish to THRIVE with your child this summer call Samantha directly at (651) 785-3059 or write to her at Samantha@brighteningconnections.com) for your FREE parent coaching consultation ($50 value). Mention this article and you will receive an additional $25 off parent coaching (expires August 31, 2012).