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. So we’ve rounded up a list of useful tips to bring sanity and joy to your time together this summer!
1. 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 thought, 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!”
2. Help kids 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 to set a meeting up to succeed. You can let kids consider fun, creative alternatives to screen-time to jumpstart their thinking. Involving children in the process communicates important messages: “Kids, you are responsible for your own activity choices, and you are capable of coming up with some really creative ideas!”
3. Focus on building strengths in sibling conflict.
When the “all together, all the time” stress builds, parents can view the increased sibling conflict as an intrusion and a burden, or as a great opportunity to build life-long relational skills, empathy, and insight. (The more frequent the conflict, the greater the opportunity!!)
4. Have grace for yourself.Another great way to build strength in sibling conflicts is to discover the “gift gone awry” — the God-given talent in each child that is contributing to the conflict. For example, a passionate, expressive child is more likely to say hurtful things when riled up. A focused child may have more difficulty sharing toys. For help uncovering and affirming your child’s gifts, see our list of 12 misbehaviors and the gifts behind them. When conflict happens, you can help kids identify the gifts gone awry of the people involved – including themselves!
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 conflicts, frustration, and even tears hold the rich opportunity to lean into Jesus’ love for you all, while your children watch and learn about the depth of God’s grace. In the words of Paul, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people [including your kids], to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ!”
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