PEORIA, Ill. --
While summertime is a time to relax and unwind, it can also pose a challenge for parents whose kids now have a lot more free time.
For the stay-at-home parents, it might mean your child constantly seeks your attention or demands continuous entertainment. For working parents, it becomes the ultimate juggling act, trying to balance a full work load and quality family time.
Whichever your situation, here are some easy ideas for reducing stress and keeping everyone relaxed and happy this summer.
Learn to say no.
• Keep the commitments to a minimum and set some boundaries for yourself and others. You don’t need to cross everything off your to-do list. Pick one or two things to get done. And don’t accept every invitation that comes your way. Be selective of the things you choose to do or the activities your kids participate in. Don’t forget to set some limits with your kids, too. The family taxi is on vacation!
Unplug to de-stress.
• We all tend to be glued to our phones and other electronics. Take some time every day to turn it off. Head outside with the kids and enjoy the nice weather (studies show getting outside makes you feel better). Be present and enjoy each other’s company. Not only will you feel less stressed, but this could help reduce your reliance on electronics in the future.
Keep a schedule.
• Don’t throw your regular routine out the window just because it’s summer. Keep a schedule that remains relatively the same every day. Adhere to regular meal, bedtime and wake up schedules. Following a regular routine will keep kids healthy, happy and stress-free, allowing them to make the most of their summer vacation.
Plan a staycation.
• Instead of adding the stress of travel to your summer schedule, consider a staycation. Explore your town and the surrounding area. Visit a local park, museum or even the library. Many towns have free or low cost activities and events during summer months so take advantage of what your area has to offer (see links below for more ideas).
Schedule family time.
• Set aside a specific time each day to do something as a family. Cook dinner together, have game night, do a puzzle or pop some popcorn and watch a movie. Fun family activities like these keep younger kids busy and teens engaged.
While life doesn’t stop during the summer, we can slow it down a bit and make time to relax, de-stress and re-energize before the chaos of the fall kicks…again.
Have a great rest of your summer!
Matthew Palmisano, LICSW DPH