So today is the day. It is the day that Michael will be home with me alone for two straight weeks. It’s not a lot compared to some families whose children don’t go to camp, I know. Still, for us, for me, with an extremely active and anxious kid, keeping him busy during these two weeks is anything but relaxing, though I enjoy our time together. It’s become an art over the years, and I think we’re pretty much at the point now that Michael and I know each other well, he knows and understands I still need time in the day for my writing and editing jobs as well as for my personal health and housework, and time to take him places and truly enjoy spending time with him. It’s a balance for both of us and we have our ups and downs. I have found that having a system is our best bet. What is our system for having fun and staying sane at home during our mother/son bonding time? Here is the system that works for our family:
- Write It All Down: We have a dry erase board where we write out the activities we will be doing outdoors with rain substitutes too, of course. Michael now writes it out on our dry erase list and calendar and enjoys this planning phase.
- Have Rewards For Your Child: Yes, rewards for good listening; staying calm, using strategies. All of that works for Michael and I, and helps him stay motivated to behave for both of us.
- Repeat To Your Child You Are Happy They Are Home: I must confess there are times I feel less than enthusiastic about this. Hey, I’m human and need my space, but as he has gotten older, he is learning how to make his own fun at home and it is fun playing sports with him, swimming with him, and going out with him. I build up excitement about his time home with me by talking about the cool things we will do and trying to put some variety into the day. He loves that.
- Schedule Play Dates With Other Kids If You Can: This is hard as everyone has a different summer schedule, but try and schedule in a few play dates with friends to spice things up if possible. We will be doing one this week and others in two weeks hopefully, near the tail end of our family vacation.
- Have Fun Home Time Built-In Or Outside-Home Time: Both of these are harder if your kid is a homebody who does not want to go out or a jet-setter who never wants to stay home. Parents have their work cut out for them, but slowly they can introduce a half day spent home or out to get their child used to something different.
Most kids respond well to some sort of structure. As long as there is some flexibility in activities, a parent who knows her child well will usually not go wrong. As long as your child is getting some fresh air, exercise as well as time at home to chill out, you and they are off to a good start on your time alone together.
Exceptional Parents, how do you survive times in the summer when the kids are with you all day for a fixed period of time? What tips have you offered friends? The thing is there is not one system that works perfectly for every child. What I have used is a general one that works for most exceptional kids, but as your child’s parent you know them best and know what will keep them stimulated, happy and as relaxed as possible. It’s also important that you as Mom and Dad, find time to recharge your parental batteries, especially when they are home. Whether it’s squeezing in a workout, taking time for pleasure reading or talking to and seeing other adults when your child is with another adult, doing this will keep your batteries charged and you calm ready to handle anything. So, trust in balance for you and your child. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.
For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS