On Being A Parent: A Doozy of a Summer
For a stay-at-home parent, summertime can mean more relaxed schedules, vacations in the making, and maybe even more sleepovers to host. Working parents, however, may have sitter issues and rigid timelines to fit together. For them, summer days don’t necessarily mean more time with the kids.
As a parent of grown children, I learned with the years that family togetherness, though it might take you to your wits’ end at times, is one of the most important things in life.
Allow me to make a few suggestions, based solely on my own experience as someone who has been in your shoes and now has hindsight.
This summer, find ways to say “yes” rather than “no” to your children.
Work toward positives rather than negatives, such as, “we can’t go to the park this afternoon, but let’s plan that for tomorrow!” This way, the child is left with anticipation. Just make sure you follow through.
Soak in the stories your child tells you.
Ask questions! Sound interested! You will become your kid’s favorite person to share life happenings with. This lays groundwork for a loving relationship with your grown children, just by intent listening.
Post-it notes are underrated!
Imagine the pleasure of finding a note on your mirror that says, “I’m so proud of you!” or “You’re my favorite youngest/oldest son!” or “Don’t you dare forget how much I love you!” A child can feel that home is a safe place with words that brighten the day.
Technology has made a change in summer.
As children spend more time indoors with gadgets, experts say it can become detrimental to growing brains. In fact, a child’s overstimulated brain has now been given a diagnosis: “Electronic Screen Time Syndrome.” It’s not a good thing. So no matter how little Johnny fusses, rules and activities limiting this habit are a good thing.
Mom, put down the smart phone, too!
I recently saw a picture of a sad little boy looking at his mom, thinking, “I wish I was her phone, so she would hold me and look at me all day.” Set a goal to check your phone only once an hour the whole summer. You will have your phone always. No matter what age, your child is already on his way out of your daily life. Remember, parenting is a temporary thing.
The suggestions above don’t cost money, except for a few dollars for a large stack of Post-it notes. Try to remember that the child you tuck in bed at night is the adult of the future. Children leave home with lots of memories, and those memories affect who they become as adults.
I learned that it is important to be a true presence in the life of your kids. In my opinion, it’s a much better gift than the toy they think they can’t live without.
Make your summer a doozy — a life changer — with just a few “love” adjustments. In years to come, your child will look back and wonder how you managed this parent thing so well.