Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Summer to Remember

The final bell rang. The kids screamed for joy. Mom sat in the carpool line wondering, "What in the world are we going to do all summer?!"

Well, now that summer is halfway over, maybe you've found yourself resentful and angry because your children constantly "interrupt" your schedule. If that's how you're feeling, you're normal.

But, wait. We wanted these kids, right? Are they really interruptions or blessings in disguise? How can we move from simply surviving the rest of summer to making it a summer to remember?

Here are a few ideas to get you out of the summer survival rut:
Realize they won't be this way forever. Preschoolers won't always have tiny hands. Call your elementary-aged kid on the phone and listen to the smallness of their voice.Tween girls giggle. Tween boys have a fascination with being gross. Even though teens have lots of their own ideas and don't like yours, make your home the safe, fun house.My parents' secret was a ping-pong table. Enjoy them, because they'll be gone before you know it.

Say "no" with a smile. It makes you and your child feel better. They know you have some regret at having to say no. You are on their team.

Play music. Anger and music don't usually dance. Movie soundtracks, praise songs, music from my teen years or even classical stations. I rarely find myself upset with my kids when we have music playing in the background.

Go outside. Sometimes taking a walk or bike ride with the kids can do wonders to change everyone's perspective.

Work together. Life isn't all about fun. Use this summer to teach your kids how to sort, wash and fold laundry, put sheets on a beds, dust, mow, organize a closet, etc.

Things aren't always as they seem. Remember that the way you are seeing things at this moment is probably not how it will look in a couple of hours. Frustrations can build and dissolve quickly when you have kids.

Offer them 30 minutes of your time. After they have helped pick up around the house let them pick what the two of you will do together and watch their eyes light up! For older kids, offer them the day off after helping for an hour.

Ask your kids what they think is fun. You might be surprised to find that their idea of fun often doesn't cost any money. My sister was amazed to find that her 7-year-old son's idea of "fun" was playing tag in the front yard with dad, mom and his little sister.

Slow down. Successful parenting doesn't mean you have your children involved in every possible extra-curricular activity. Successful parenting means you are there for them. If you've been running all year, it takes "practice" to enjoy staying home. Don't give up. Turn off the computer, TV, cell phone, etc. etc. and read or play games (no matter what their age.)

Pray. When you are at your wit's end, ask God to help you remember what to do with your kids. On our own, it's hard to enjoy the moments because "life happens." But God has a way of giving us perspective that will slow us down and help us see our families the way He sees them-with love and compassion.

The next time you blow your top or realize you're just surviving your kids instead of enjoying their clumsy feet, silliness, or their constant desire to talk on the phone, stop and think, "one day I'll miss this!" The funny thing is, tomorrow we'll be longing for today. If we choose to think like that long enough, the kids won't be the only ones sad to hear the school bell ring this fall.


We would love to hear how things are going with you and your family. Feel free to Email us today!

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