By Dr Carolyn Stone
In my hometown it is officially summer. School got out here last Friday. Last night the neighborhood children were out shooting baskets and hooting it up in the evening, a sure sign that they had no homework to do.
So, is the living easy? I know that for many working parents it has been a scramble to find the coverage they need for the summer. They are planning their time off around the times that they do not have child care or a camp for their children to go to.
For many of the “atypical kids” life does get easier in the summer when the academic demands go away. Kids who were irritable and snappish are now a little easier to be around. The transition to summer has happened, and many are feeling relief. Enjoy.
Other of the “atypical kids” are more irritable because their predictable schedule has changed. These are the kids for whom it is important for you, the parent, to introduce the summer routine. It doesn’t need to be highly detailed. Think about what your child needs to remain an active member of the family instead of a total couch potato. Regular times for screens and meals will help. Regular times that everyone gets up and out, perhaps to go to a community pool, will also help.
This requires a lot of “rolling with it” for parents as they transition into summer. The regular summer programs don’t start until next week or even after the Fourth of July. Like their children, parents also can become grumpy when the schedule is unpredictable. I speak from my own experience. So, take care of yourself by letting yourself roll with it. If you can take some time off of work, do so, and plan to do some activities that you can enjoy with your child. Try to expect less of yourself in terms of housekeeping, meal prep, and so forth.
Take some deep breaths and notice whether you and your children are enjoying the beginning of summer. What do you and your family need to have some enjoyment? It’s different in different families. Are you having s’mores for dessert? Watching a movie together? Looking for bugs under logs (one of my favorites)? Baking cookies?
Try to let the living be easy. And when it isn’t; when the adjustment to a new routine gets to you and your children and tempers flare, forgive yourself, take some breaths and start over. Remember, your good family time may not look like anyone elses. I would be interested to hear what you particular family likes to do to relax in the summer.
Parent Coach and Licensed Psychologist, Carolyn Stone, Ed.D. (http://www.drcarolynstone.com) educates parents of children with learning disabilities, ADHD, Asperger Syndrome and anxiety about their children’s needs using humor and evidence-based practices. Parents learn new strategies through role play and homework. She teaches children to manage their anxiety and attention and to understand their learning styles. You can learn about Dr. Stone’s work from her blog at http://www.drcarolynstone.com/blog/.