Setting Boundaries for Summer time | ImpactParents
Aaahhh, summer. The school year is drawing to a close and parents are starting to dream of the days when the timetables are easier, the pressure is less and … THERE ARE NO HOMEWORK!
Then reality comes in. Most of our children have summer schedules. Even if they don’t know, we know Structure can enrich the lives of children with ADHD or other problems (not to mention our life). The question is what structure? How do you set limits for summer timetables?
Structure and limits in summer?
Structure is the last thing kids want to think about after school. It’s summer after all! Where do you use structures, where do you just let go? And how do you decide? Here are some of the questions we discussed during the PSS group coaching sessions (and at my home too):
A “summery” way to make these decisions is Switching from rules to limits. The rules are tough, fast and tight, while the boundaries are broader and offer more play and flexibility. Using boundaries allows you to focus more on the “how” than the “what”. It also draws attention to providing what you want and keeping out what you don’t want.
Here is an example.
Imagine you want to keep your dog near your house. A rules-based way to do this would be to teach your dog to stay close to you or make sure he is always on a leash when he is outside. In a border-based system, you can put a fence around your garden.
How do you apply this mindset to your summer family situation? Here are some easy steps:
- Make it clear what you want. How should the look and feel of summer be? For example: you want your child to have a relaxing summer. You want your everyday life to run smoothly. You want them to have creativity, brain stimulation, and physical activity every day. You want them to be safe and happy.
- Understand why you care. Check out what’s underneath. For example, you might want your child to have less screen time when they have more time for physical activity. If your child is active during the day, they will sleep better at night. If you sleep better at night … (Well, you know this story.) A good looking home can be of value to you. Hard work and success can be just as good. If you asked your children to help with light cleaning each day, you would honor both values.
- Structure based on what you want (and not what you don’t want). If you want them to have at least an hour of physical activity or creativity, allow for that. If you want them to tidy up their room every morning before heading out, make this a part of their morning routine. Then … leave what is left to them.
Other things to remember
- It’s okay to do things for yourself. Sometimes you set boundaries for your children because they make your life easier, and that is perfectly normal (and okay). Yes, they are on vacation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you around the house. This is especially true when you are also not on vacation. Some days my son has to take his medication just because I know I’ll be busy and won’t have the patience to help him with his increasing distraction. This is practically, not selfish.
- Be a role model. Telling your kids that physical activity and creativity are important and then spending all of your free time playing on Facebook sends a mixed message. I’m not saying you can’t have your downtime too, but be transparent about it. Mom will spend 30 minutes “relaxing” at the computer and then we will start cooking dinner together.
- Do it together. Find ways to get in touch with them as they will have more time. Learn something new together every week, take turns choosing what you want to see together on TV. You can endure ninja cartoons for 30 minutes and they could learn from Bobby Flay that cooking can be fun.
Especially enjoy the summer!
Once you are clear on how to demarcate your summer schedule, make sure to plan some time off for you, change it up, and take it easy. After all, you’ve earned a break!