Got little ones home this summer?

Here is how to prepare

by Lauren Millman
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Isn’t it always a challenge trying to figure out what to do with your young ones over the summer? When camp, vacations, and cottaging are out, somehow you have to fill up the day, but how, and with what? The park, the library, the pet store, baking, baths, bubbles and just being silly are some options. Now that you’ve decided what to do, it’s imperative you set that time up for success.

Here are the 7 things you need to know and expect.

1. Expect nothing, but just to have fun, and that kids are kids, so there will be bumps and pitfalls. Take them in stride. Expect things to be noisy and a bit harried. Kids are wired for loud and imperfection. When you keep your expectations in check,  there’ll be no surprises on your end, and you’ll be better equipped to go with the flow and handle anything that may come up.

2. Commit to the calm. Our kids emulate us, and when we fly off the handle, yell and scream, and speak rudely, we give THEM license to do exactly that. Don’t do that. If you need a short time-out, take it. Disengage calmly and quietly, regain your composure, and come back with a smile. Always smile.

3. Practice tempering your emotions. Don’t let them see you sweat. They’re looking to you to lead, empower, and keep the tone set to a positive and fun one. Our kids look up to us to teach them how to behave, and how to handle things. Don’t disappoint them.

4. Be organized. Have backup activities and ideas ready to go. There’s nothing worse than a breakout of emotions where disagreements ensue, and the fun is over. For you too. Have diversions ready, just in case they (or you), need a break. Watch for potential eruptions too, and try to nip them in the bud. You can always return to an activity, and the mix-up in the fun may be extra fun for them.

5. Frontload. This is my biggie. Let them know the 5-W’s. What, Where, When, Who, Why. That way, there’s expectation, accountability, and expectation.

6. Make a time frame. Kids get bored quick. Make sure that if they’re staying for a while, you break the time up. A maximum of 3 activities is great, including a snack break somewhere in between. This way, they’ll have had a great time, and you won’t end up exhausted.

Now that the play date is over and all the friends leave, maybe some quiet time is the next appropriate call, or a bath for the kiddos, where you can sit and have some quiet time too. It’s still daytime? Well, whoever said daytime wasn’t a great time for a bath? It’s the perfect time…Wind-down time!!! I remember when I used bath time as an activity. Kids love them! And it gave me a chance to sit for a bit too and not have my eyes darting all over the place, and I could catch my breath, regroup, and focus on my kid. If need be, have bath time twice, once in the morning, and again in the afternoon. Your kids will sleep well too.

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