Episode 20: Have Your Best Summer With These Mindful Parenting Tips
1. Schedule Time to Relax. It’s amazing how fast our summers can become overscheduled. All that free time can quickly turn into a catch all for what we missed during the school year. I have learned from the self-caring parents I admire, that they prioritize this in their schedule- with great discipline. Don't over schedule your family, think about what you want to do, what your child wants to see or experience and be very intentional in setting this schedule. Fill as much of the calendar as possible with relaxation time. Kids know how to relax but we have to teach them that we value this in order for them to be succesful with this as a habit (one of the more fun parenting things to model). So balance camp or vacation or home renevation project or family reunion with lounge time, free play or impromptu home town exploration.
2. Be Present. During that time you just scheduled for relaxation, really be in the moment. Don’t just send the kids outside to play- go with them. Get in a water fight, do some finger painting, or hit the bike trails. Your children will be thrilled to have this attention from you and you get a break to see your kids but not worry about their homework being completed or whether it's your snack day. Be curious about their experience of summer, notice how they respond to not being in school (if they attend school) etc. and soak in who your child is in this moment.
3. Validate Your Child's Feelings. Without the homework struggle and often a decrease in weekly engagements, windows of time are opening up for you to recommit to a different kind of interaction with your child. Incorporate this into your daily routine by taking a temperature of their feelings, or encouraging them to express themselves with art, play or a journal. Validating feelings is always your best tool for managing a family conflict or an obstacle your child is facing, in a constructive manner. By validating your child’s feeling you quickly diffuse the situation and help them feel heard, connected, and ready to think clearly. So take a vacation from problem solving mode, validate yourself, your partner and your children, be fascinated about what you learn and feel the expansion of these relationships.