I (Erin) have a confession to make, as summer approached I found myself pondering the following questions:
- How do I keep my children engaged and busy this summer?
- How can we make the most of the time we have together as a family?
- How do I keep my cool when I am feeling stressed out or overwhelmed?
My guess is that this confession is not all that far off from what some of you may be experiencing as well. I want to offer 5 strategies that I hope encourage you THRIVE (not just survive) this summer.
1. Maintain Schedules and Routines
Providing myself (and my kids) with a predictable schedule each day and through the week helps us plan ahead, make transitions, and look forward to special activities. Our summer schedule is a bit more relaxed than what we had gotten used to during the school year, and while it is tempting to stay up late and sleep in I have found that the closer we stick to what is “normal” for us the easier it will be when we have to return to the more rigid schedule that the school year demands.
2. Make Memories That Will Last
As you enjoy that “special” vacation, spending the day at the pool, running through the sprinklers, playing at the park or your back yard, camping, hanging out on your patio grilling or whatever it is that you are doing as a family- engage all 5 of your senses to help form memories that last. Talk about what you hear, see, feel (tactile), smell, and taste as you engage in activities together. Talk about your emotional state of being while engaged in these activities together (ie: happy, calm, excited, peaceful, relaxed). These sensory and emotional components will help you remember where you were, who you were with, and what you did.
3. Keep Your Cool
It is going to happen- you are going to experience strong emotions (frustration, anger, overwhelm, anxiety) and sometimes these emotions can cause us to “Flip Our Lid”. Identify for yourself what are triggers for your “flipping your lid” and identify ways to prevent or minimize these triggers. Identify your warning signs that indicate you are approaching what I like to think of as “the danger zone”. Typically these warning signs are physiological such as: changes in heart rate, breathing, temperature, pounding in the head or chest, feeling dizzy, starting to feel numb. When you notice these (or other red flags) take a few deep breaths, stand up and walk around, jump up and down, count to ten, or take space.
4. Take Time For Yourself
Enjoy that early morning cup of coffee, time at the gym, late evening/night conversation with a partner or friend. Recharge your batteries so that you are able to be more physically and emotionally available to yourself and your children.
5. Have Fun
Turn up the music and have a dance party, make your favorite dessert, run through the sprinklers, paint, go see a movie, spend some time laughing and goofing off together!
Summer is short- get out there and enjoy it! The kids will be back in school before you know it- in fact I saw my first back to school commercial just the other day.