Summer Parenting by Jessie Weaver

libbiebeach.jpgI love summers, I really do. As the stay-at-home wife of a teacher, summers are a great opportunity for us to spend a lot of time together as a family. We travel, which we can’t do much together during the school year. We visit parks and museums and try to get outside when it’s not a trillion degrees. We swim and play.

But each year I also realize how difficult it is for my toddlers to adjust to our no-schedule summers.

From a fairly rigid week – two days of Mother’s Day Out, one day of Bible study, church on Wednesday nights, and 8 p.m. bedtime – to a lackadasical schedule that has us darting here and there, being with family often, and leaving no expectations of what might happen throughout the day. This spells TORTURE to a toddler/preschooler who thrives on knowing what’s happening each minute of every day. (The first thing my daughter asks in the mornings is, "Where are we going today?")

And every summer I find myself struggling with disciplining our strong-willed girl (now nearly 4), yelling in anger, wishing for an hour to lay down and read a book. As Libbie’s brother, David, is learning to talk now at 19 months, we’re entering new territory with him as well.

davidpool.jpg

My husband and I are very laid-back, which makes it feel like we’re in constant conflict with our schedule-craving wee ones. I don’t want to plan each day during July. I don’t want to explain to my child yet again why daddy is home and not at work. I don’t want to answer questions about when Christmas is coming again when it’s 103 outside.

But I find, as always, that our quality of life almost always comes around to my attitude and my behaviors more than it does my childrens’. If I stay calm and in control, they will settle down. If I’m willing to make a plan, they are 900% more content. If I write out ideas for three meals a day and shop for the groceries, meal and snacktimes are less harried and happier – and produce much more pleasant kids.

Perhaps you’re nearing the end of your summer … or maybe you are out of school ’til Labor Day. Do you find parenting harder in the summer? Or is it all bliss on your end?

Comments

  1. Sallie E. says:

    Things are pretty crazy here too. I find that just being able to plan the day out only one day in advance helps a lot with my just-turned-5 year old. Her first question indeed is, “Mama, what we gonna do today?” It’s okay if we detour from the “schedule” a little bit, as long as I can give her a few high points so that she knows what’s on the agenda. Today was “We have VBS this morning and later we’ll have hair cuts and maybe spaghetti for supper.” After that announcement, she was ready to go forward and face the day. :)

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