How to Reduce Stress and Have a More Enjoyable Summer

stress free summer, children at homeThere are so many things in life that just happen whether we want it to or not. One of those things is summer. Many people – like most children, teachers, and waterparks – love and welcome summer with open arms. However, others – like some moms, dads, and caretakers – can begin to feel overwhelmed as they wonder how they are going to keep the kids busy all summer long without going crazy or broke.

First, here are some economical and fun ideas on what you can do with the kiddos that won’t break the bank – check out this article on 33 Summer Activities that cost under $10.

For the stress free part, below is a list of ideas to get you through the season. We hope it helps. If you have ideas you can add or share on how to have a more enjoyable summer, we welcome your comments below!

  1. Take care of YOU. This is the most important activity you can do as it sets the stage for everything else that happens. However, you must first lead by example and show your family that you value your personal time and honor yourself and know how to keep your spirit fresh and rejuvenated. If you don’t show you value your personal time, it will be much harder for others to consider how valuable your time is. Taking care of yourself helps cultivate the gentle, nurturing spirit your family needs from you. To help protect your personal time, pull out your calendar and schedule YOU TIME first, then do your best to schedule everything around the time you’ve already set aside. Some ideas:
    • Schedule your own aromatherapy bath when the kiddos are being looked after by someone else or after they’ve been sent to their rooms for bedtime.
    • Call a friend and schedule a time for afternoon coffee.
    • Pick out a favorite magazine or book and schedule time to read it.
    • Research local “mother’s day out” programs, babysitter co-ops, or contact friends with children and arrange a babysitting swap – you watch their kids for a time, and then they watch yours.
    • Most importantly, as you put a new focus on taking care of YOU, be kind and gentle to yourself. Give yourself as much flexibility and grace as you give others. You are worthy of grace. Not everything pans out, and that’s ok.
  2. Delegate chores. Everyone, even many children with special needs, can be given responsibilities around the house. SpecialEducation.com has a great guide on how to incorporate the delegation of chores into your family’s lifestyle and routines. Here’s what they suggest:
    • Choose appropriate chores. Click here to see a general guide for this created by Focus on the Family
    • Choose appropriate incentives
    • Explain and model chores
    • Start small
    • Create a routine
    • Create a chore chart
    • Provide timely reinforcement
    • Use a token economy
  3. Set a Timer. Time will fly away and disappear quicker than we can look at a clock. However, when we create a system for us to be more aware of time, we find our days increasing with productivity as time becomes more loyal with fewer chances of running away from us. Here are ways a timer can be used to get through the day with less stress:
    • There is a phone app called “watch beep” that works like the old Timex watches, and beeps on the hour (or at whatever interval you set it). You can start it and stop it any time of the day so you don’t hear the hourly beep at night. Use the hourly “beep” as a reset button that prompts you to stop whatever you are doing, and take three deep belly breaths. Sometimes this alone can help change the course of your day for the better.
    • Need to do some internet research, respond to emails, or check in with your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)? This is one of the biggest culprits of stealing your time, so set the timer for 7 to 10 minutes for each activity you need to do, and honor that time.
    • House cluttered? Grab whoever is home and set the timer for 5 minutes – everyone gets to grab out-of-place items and put them where they belong.
    • For more time consuming chores, like organizing a closet or kitchen, set a 20 minute timer and tackle one portion of the beast – like your shoes, or the plastic food-storage containers that have no matching lids. Then the next day, set the timer for another 20 minutes and work on something else, like the t-shirt bins or fridge.
    • Have the kids gone crazy and filled the air with random noise all afternoon? Set a timer for 30 minutes and let the kids know they can do anything (within reason of course) for the next 30 minutes in their room, as long as it does not make sound. When there is a noise, the timer is re-set for another 30 minutes. If they need incentive, tell them afterward, you’ll take requests for items to put on their Christmas or Birthday wish list.
  4. Schedule Donation Days. At the beginning of summer (then again around the holidays) set a date for a Donation Day, and give the family a week or two to prepare – and be sure you do it too with purses, shoes, and clothes. As incentive for the kiddos, let them know that if there isn’t any room for new stuff, then it doesn’t make sense to give them more when a holiday rolls around. This will help reduce clutter, and help free up enough room in cubbies, toy boxes, closets and drawers to keep things put away.

Comment below and let us know how you reduce stress and create a more enjoyable family environment during the summer. We’d love to hear from you!

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