As the end of the school year check off sheet gets complete, my stomach begins to flutter with the idea of sleeping late, catching up on Netflix, and sitting by the pool. Then I remember, I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old!!!!!
The thought of being their sole educator, disciplinarian, and head activity consultant, makes me sweat. Structuring a fifth grade classroom: educating them, planning lessons and pushing them towards successes they never thought they would reach is easy compared to being a stay at home parent. Now why is that? I have wondered this every summer since I have become a mother. And the only thing I can think of to explain my wavering ability as a mother is that THERE IS NO END IN SITE! As a teacher, I have cycles that remind me if I am doing things correctly. I make a weekly goal, a monthly goal and a yearly goal to make sure I am on track with my students. With kids, the markers are so far away that it is difficult to check to see if you have reached the goals.
- caring human
- strong work ethic
- supportive person
- determined and self driven
- Problem solvers
- Self Disciplined
Every one of these goals can be seen throughout a day or week, but to know whether or not they get it can’t be tested until they are truly out of my care.
- Will they be a safe driver? Will they think of others while driving?
- Will they stay out of trouble? Make the right decision under pressure?
- Will they give up when things get tough or will they try?
- Will they show love and care towards all people?
- Will they solve their own problems?
So, I have decided to look at this as I would in my classroom: Read, Study, Reflect, and Set small attainable goals.
To help me with this HUGE cloud hanging over me, I have enlisted in some help. Below is my list of helpful advice, links, books that have guided me toward solace.
- My mother – Unfortunately, you don’t have my mother (and for you, I am so sorry) she has always shared great advice, but I am sure your mother, aunt, grandmother, sisters, friend etc… This is my go to. Mothers need a village to help them. I assure you, whatever it is that you are going through someone else has trudged through it before you and they have advice. You don’t have to take everything they say and use it. But I assure you, they will at least support you, listen to you, and guide you towards what is best for you and your family.
- Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson is a great book! I read it three years ago to help me lead students toward making the correct decisions. It gives you the tools to help children become self-disciplined, responsible and problem solvers.
- Positive Parenting free webinars. Sign up through Facebook!
- Parenting magazines and Parenting websites have great ideas. Here is one that shares a list of fun activities for summer. http://workathomemoms.about.com/od/kidsactivitiesfamilyfun/a/ideas-for-kids.htm
- This is cliché, but PINTEREST!!!! When all else fails- they have some great ideas.https://www.pinterest.com/julehuck/baby-kids/
- Scary Mommy, Super Healthy Kids, Moms of boys and Hot Mess Moms on Facebook are great people to become friends with. Their posts and articles are great reads that remind you that it is okay that you aren’t perfect, and the moment you realize that the stress kind of floats away.
- Rewards systems- marbles, checkmarks, tallies etc… Work. Use them and reward your children often with your time (NOT candy!!) – set goals with your kids. What behavior are they struggling with? What would you like them to do well at in school in a few months? Use this as your barometer-
- Read, Read, Read- read with them, read to them, and read yourself. Kids need to see their parents reading if you want them to become readers. If they are old enough, read chapter books that they are reading and talk about them. If they are too young to read alone, read to them, do activities with the book about the book. Find a book with a movie and use this as a goal for the end of the reading. Scholastic.com has some great ideas!!!!
The MOST important thing to remember- the 1 thing I MUST remember…
They just want to spend time with you/me. My two boys just want my attention a lot, and if I listen to their song, watch them dance or put a puzzle together with them – they give me time to myself when I need it. The tantrums are few and far between. If I don’t give them time, I regret it later!
Like my husband says, ‘These summers with me will be their happiest memories: cousins, Kansas, pool trips, trampoline/sprinkler times, pajama days, and popsicles before dinner. These times will be their favorite memories of growing up.”