by Catherine McLaughlin
For me, fall is a time to get back into a routine. With three young children, summers are an all-out party for us - my kids want to go all the places and do all the things. In my former life as a School Counselor, I had summers off, so I could make that happen for us. But working over the summer changes things. Here’s what I learned, and what I’ll take with me to next summer.
1. Stay on a schedule - Most kids respond better when they’re on a schedule, even when they think they don’t. Remember when they were babies and we tried to nap and feed them at the same times? Being on a schedule also works better for a family with two working parents. Being on a schedule doesn’t mean that life has to be boring - it just provides kids with a framework for their days. Most kids can relax when they know what’s up next.
2. Mix it up - Plan some fun activities and surprises. During summer, days are longer, more daylight, more time to fill. Planning some surprise outings will keep everyone guessing and having fun. It will also score you some parent points.
3. Maintain your own routine - This is a big one for me. Letting my own exercise and meditation routine fall to the wayside did nothing for my parenting. Like my kids, I need a schedule to be able to relax and feel comfortable. With kids at home all day, making time for yourself can be difficult. Next summer I’ll have to be creative - waking up earlier than usual or exercising after kids go to bed. Practicing mindfulness meditation can be especially helpful, especially when dealing with more family time than we’re used to.
Happy Back to School!
Catherine McLaughlin is a Licensed Professional Counselor and School Counselor. She sees adolescents and adults in private practice, specializing in issues of adolescence and providing therapy for parents of teens experiencing difficult times. Catherine can be reached at 267-800-5073 and firstname.lastname@example.org.