It’s summer again, and you know what that means…a totally different rhythm to schedules and family time, with lots of time for connection. And conflict!
There are long, glorious days ahead filled with sunshine and free time. The slower pace of summer means that you can create lasting family memories. It also means more time for tempers to flare (your kids’ and yours) when expectations for a great memory-worthy summer don’t happen the way we imagined.
Read below for 4 sure-fire tips to help you retain your parenting sanity when you respond to the classic summer challenges of boredom, sibling conflict, and vacations together.
By offering grace to yourself and your kids every day, you can create the best summer yet!
1. Guide kids to brainstorm their own fun.
What to do with alllllllll that time on your hands? Boredom is a choice, so help your kids take responsibility for their own fun. One mom credited family meetings for a great start to the summer. In their weekly family time, the whole family problem-solved how to work together to have the best summer possible. Here are tips for setting a meeting up to succeed.
You can let kids consider fun, creative alternatives to screen-time to jump-start their thinking. Involving children in this process communicates important messages: “You are responsible for your own activity choices, and you are capable of coming up with some really creative ideas!”
2. Focus on building valuable skills in sibling conflict.
When the “all together, all the time” stress builds, parents can view the increased sibling conflict as a great opportunity to build life-long relational skills, empathy, and insight. (The more frequent the conflict, the greater the opportunity! Check out our Sibling Conflict online course).
Another great way to build strength in sibling conflicts is to discover each child’s “gift gone awry” — the God-given talent that is contributing to the conflict. Some examples:
- A passionate, expressive child is more likely to say hurtful things when riled up.
- A focused child may have more difficulty sharing toys.
- A natural leader might appear bossy to siblings and friends.
For help uncovering and affirming your child’s gifts, see our list of 12 misbehaviors and the gifts behind them.
3. Travel purposefully.
Planning a family road trip or vacation this summer? Check out our guide to planning a purposeful family trip as well as these tips to retain your sanity during a family car trip. Traveling with your family may not always be as relaxing as you imagined, but it can be a great opportunity to connect and grow as a family. As we often say, “don’t call them vacations — call them trips!”
4. Have grace for yourself!
Take a deep breath. You are not SuperDad or WonderMom. You will not get everything right the first time or even the twenty-first time. But the times of conflict, frustration, and even tears hold the rich opportunity to lean into Jesus’ love for you all. During these moments your children will watch and learn about the depth of God’s grace. (Ephesians 3:17-19)
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