As summer draws near, some parents are counting down the days until school is out right along with their kids. While others… are a little less than enthused about the extra chaos summer will inevitably bring.
So, I thought I would put write a post that includes a few ways we can build our kiddos up this summer while also, bonding as a family. Which means Momma keeps her sanity all summer long…or at least for most of it 😉 Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. This costs you nothing, but supports me!
Establish clear behavioral boundaries
Kicking off the summer months with clear boundaries is a great way to set yourself up for success!
We decided that since it worked well at school for our kiddos, we would use the “behavioral color chart” at home. It provides an opportunity for grace, incentives for good behavior & consequences for poor behavior.
The idea is that the more good decisions they make the higher they can clip up the chart. While the poor decisions they make will clip them down the chart.
Below is our chart broken down & the little catch phrase that we have for each one, making it easier for the little ones to understand.
- Purple is BEST!
- Blue is BETTER!
- Green is GOOD! & where everyone starts each day.
- Yellow is YUCKY!
- Orange is OH NO!
- Red is GO TO BED
We even started offering a star at the top for EXTRA AMAZING behavior. If you fall asleep while being on purple or the star you will receive a prize! Being on red & continuing negative choices, will get you to bed early & without a special bedtime snack.
This chart has helped our family a lot with structure, following through, & understanding cause & effect.
Responding well to crying children
Maybe it’s just me, but I never realized that parenthood would involve so many tears. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sensitive person so naturally I might have more tears than the average parent. BUT what I wasn’t prepared for was the buckets of tears that children so quickly dump on you for every.single.thing. It still just amazes me that one little kiss on an invisible owie can make the tears immediately stop & the hurt gone. [totally a super power] So as we gear up for summer & the influx of tears over siblings not sharing, accidental boo-boos, & just plain tired/emotional days. Here is a list of things you can say to your child instead of what naturally blurts out my mouth at times…stop crying. [Also added to the list of things I never thought I’d say as a parent]
- It’s okay to be sad
- I’m here with you
- That was really scary/disappointing/upsetting/sad
- Tell me about it
- I understand
- It doesn’t feel fair
- I can help
Learning your child’s love language
A great place to start is taking the quiz with your child on the 5 Love Languages Website! This should help you learn a little more about your child & how they best receive love. This can make you get more bang for your buck, so to speak, when trying to pour into your children this summer.
Note: The kids evaluation is different from the adult version, it has you have your child write or draw something [with broad instructions]. I decided to read him the adult version of the quiz but I tried to reword the questions to make more sense to him. Instead of “is it more meaningful when…” I asked, “which of these makes you feel more loved?” He seemed to really enjoy it & we learned how he sees love – WIN WIN!
Calm Down Yoga
When the volume of your home gets maxed out, take a few minutes to bring everyone back together. Calm a little. While also still having fun! We found Cosmic Kids Yoga on Amazon Prime & the kids are mesmerized with the story telling. They are able to immerse themselves as characters, while doing yoga & calming. Seriously one of my favorite things in Mom Life right now. You can also buy the dvd by clicking the picture below!
Sometimes we just need some fresh ideas on how to encourage our little ones. Here are some positive statements you can say in response to them. These affirming statements help not only encourage them but also build up their confidence & allow them to feel seen & loved. I know that for me, I plan on being very intentional with giving positive feedback to my kiddos this summer. While also paying close attention to what makes them unique & praising their strengths. I want to create strong, confident, loving, positive humans that go into the world & change it in positive ways. This is one of the ways I plan on doing that. What can I add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
- You are helpful
- You were right
- You can try again tomorrow
- I love being your Mom
- I believe in you
- You make my heart full
- You are so amazing at that
- I appreciate you
- I love how you said that
- Even if you make a mistake, you can fix it!
- You can do hard things
- That was a really great choice
Incorporate Non-Food Incentives
Non-food incentives is SOOOOO much more difficult than I ever thought. Without even thinking about it I offer popsicles, candy [on special occasions], pizza….promises for these things quicly fly from my mouth or pop into my head when a. trying to get them to listen to me & nothing else seems to be working on that particular day b. when I’m thinking of fun things add to the day, food is always always always at the top of my list. SO here are some non-food activities, incentives, & ideas to enhance your summer!
- Play a game
- Watch their favorite show/movie
- Go to the library
- Watch funny youtube videos
- Camp out in the backyard
- Plant flowers together
- Go for a hike in nature
- Messy craft
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but a really great way to start your wheels turning on how to make this summer the best summer ever for your kids.
What are some things you enjoy doing with your kids throughout the summer months?
Are you more excited or concerned that summer break is right around the corner?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
No matter the season, let’s just keep moving forward, making every day the best we can! & if we mess today up, brush it off & try again tomorrow. You’ve got this 🙂
The Mess in Me Honors the Mess in You