Summer Parenting Challenge Posted by: Dr. Matt

Summer Parenting Challengegirls ice cream

Ahhhh, Summer is in the air!  The trees have budded, the grass is growing, the thunderstorms are rolling, and the kids are getting antsy.  For parents, this time of year is filled with anxious exams, field trips, and school parties.  It’s that time of year when kids transition from their school schedules to summer schedules; when change and transition are right around the corner.  It’s a great time of year to assess and reinvigorate your summer parenting efforts!

Use the checklist below to assess your own summer parenting – try to find 1 or 2 areas in which to make adjustments.  You don’t have to change everything; set one goal for parenting growth each month this summer!

  • Be present – How present are you in your home:
    1. Physically – how much time are you actually home?
    2. Mentally – when you’re home, how engaged are you with your family?
    3. Emotionally – to what extent are you “taking the conversation deeper” with your family?
    4. Neighborly – how connected are you with the families immediately around you?

*Ask your kids, “What’s it like to spend time with me?” – listen to their response.Summer Parenting

  • Be purposeful – Everyday is a chance to engage your children.  And every night they go to bed, they wake up one day older. What are you waiting for?  Be purposeful in their life.  Lead.

*Where do your kids need you to take the lead and provide a little more structure?

    1. Rules for the use of electronics
    2. New responsibilities or chores around the house
    3. An allowance or incentive schedule
    4. A daily routine
    5. A summer family reading plan or activity planner
    6. Fun Tips for Families with young kids
  • Be on-duty – When you leave work and head home, you’re not leaving work, you’re changing work environments.  As a parent, home should be a workplace – your kids need you to be in charge and on-duty, rather than checked-out and “decompressing”.  

*Ask your kids, “What would you like for you and I to do more of together?”

  • Team Up! – If you have a spouse or partner, join forces.  Summer Parenting is often a team-sport – it’s hard work, and you need support.  Even single parents need to leverage “surrogate parenting aids” to help with transportation, meal planning, child care, etc.  Team up!  It’s hard work!

*Discuss with your partner, “In what ways would you like to grow and change slightly this month?  How can I support these efforts?”

  • Model health – As a parent, most of the IMPACT we leave on our kids is not in what we say, but in what we do day-in-and-day-out.  Be a “model of health” for your kids.  What life-health behaviors do your kids see from you throughout the week? Use the list below to grade yourself:
    playing in sprinkler

    playing in sprinkler

    1. Read
    2. Sleep
    3. Eat properly
    4. Exercise – get off the couch
    5. Be neighborly
    6. Put down technology
    7. Engage your own spirituality  

Here are some more tips

***Take the Summer Parenting Challenge.  As a parent, what would you like to restructure or shift in your schedule this month?  What are the first, small, affordable steps to making this happen in your home?