Preschool is out for summer! Every June brings mixed emotions from parents of preschoolers. Over the course of my career, I have seen parents excited for the weeks ahead with less “get up and go” obligations. I have listened to parents bemoan the loss of a steady schedule. Every year, at least one parent asks, “Do you have to take a break? Now I have to figure out what to do every day.” Mostly, parents look a bit lost as they refigure their daily schedules to include the kids or scramble to fit in all the summer fun even though they work. Make the most of the weeks ahead by keeping your expectations realistic:
- Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean your child will have mastered grocery store behavior. If you struggled in the grocery store with your young children in April, you will also very likely struggle in July. It is not a realistic expectation that most children under the age of 5 will be able to wait in the little cart seat while you do an hour of shopping. If you shopped while the kids were at preschool, shift your time to evening or when you have someone to watch them.
- Warm weather did not bring a longer attention span for days at the beach. Expect to be up and down and all around when you go to beaches, lakes or other crowded summer destinations. Before I had children, I could sit for hours and read. When my children were young, I was happy to get through 2 pages at a time. Know that lazy beach days won’t be so lazy for you until the kids get older. Accepting their realistic attention spans will make your days less frustrating.
- Have a list ready of indoor activities for rainy days. We have all had the experience of seeing an ad or hearing about a place and thinking it would be nice on a rainy day but when the rain comes, we can’t remember the name of the place. As you pass places or see ads, jot it down!
- If you feel cranky from extreme heat, your children probably feel the same. When it is 100 degrees and the kids start whining, it is time to simply go home. The line for just one more ride in the amusement park won’t be worth it. Be grateful we live in the era of all things air conditioned, go home and read a book together.
- Separation anxiety isn’t restricted to the school year. If your young child is going to a camp or activity with all new people, don’t be surprised if he/she is anxious. Feeling confident in their usual school setting may not translate to feeling confident in every new setting. Change is scary and rooms full of strangers are scary even for adults. You may know that fun is ahead but your young child doesn’t. Send the message that your child will be fine by saying goodbye and leaving just like you did (or should have done) on the first day of preschool. Need more tips for dealing with separation anxiety? See the link at the end of this article.
Summers with your children are limited. All too soon, they will be out with friends and choosing to spend less time with you. Do all you can to enjoy this time and reduce the stress by having age appropriate expectations.
For more information, click on these titles: "Dealing with Your Preschooler's Separation Anxiety" and "Treasuring Time Off with the Kids"
Read my articles in “The Shriver Report”: "Stress in the Family: Helping Our Children to Cope" ; "From Working Mom to Working Woman: The Opportunity of the Empty Nest""Family Finances: Tips To Teaching Your Kids About Money""Equality in My Home"
Read this blog for more articles. Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators on my website - Helping Kids Achieve
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