Updated: May 10
Summer is upon us guys! Prep the BBQ, lather on the sunscreen, and get ready for warm evenings by the fire-pit. Summer is a fun season packed with ballgames, concerts in the park and lots of travel. I personally love the hot weather and any excuse to get outside with others is my jam. Plus as a WFHM, my kids are always in tow so if I'm out and about, they are too.
That being said, I have been getting lots of questions from parents about spending more time out of the house with their kiddos and how to mange possible behavioral concerns.
Danielle wrote me and said:
I am a bit apprehensive once school lets out and we are spending more time at other peoples homes this summer. We have been spending time with the same people throughout the pandemic and I'm not sure how my my 5 and 8 year old will do once exposed to so much novelty again. I'm also concerned that I'm going to be so bombarded with challenging behaviors (I have an anxious 8 year old and a rambunctious 5 year old) and I'm not sure Ill be able to handle it. Any advice?
First of all I want to share that many people are in this boat. There is a common fear that the kiddos may have ‘forgotten’ how to behave in certain environments and that they will:
Be overly excitable
and express themselves in less than ideal ways. Lots of parents have begun to take their kiddos out more and have seen some of these behaviors on small outings. It can definitely be anxiety producing for parents and avoidance of these events can seem like the ideal choice.
While there may be some ‘humps’ to get over and curve balls that get thrown your way, there are definitely things you can do to prepare them and yourselves for these upcoming outings. There are some simple and attainable steps that you can take both with yourself and with your children to enjoy the summer activities! Because you should not miss out on the fun this summer and ability to build memories and relationships out of fear.
It is 100% possible to ease your nerves and set your family up for success. I promise! So lets tackle a few things so you can quickly get on your way to a fun summer vacay.
Don't expect your kiddos to behave perfectly. I'm serious. It sounds obvious but when we go into a situation with lower expectations (with the same rules and standards), the better we will respond when the kids have a moment. If we are able to understand that they may have mishaps when out and about, we're less likely to be caught off guard and can respond to them in a way that is less emotionally fueled. Which obviously help them calm down and get back to it faster.
Shit is going to go down no matter what. Someone will misbehave, someone will be disinterested in the activity, and someone will break down. It's gonna happen. BUT with a quick mindset shift from you, you can better respond and diffuse the situation fast. You know the saying “it is what it is”? Well, it really just is what it is. The moment is happening and it will pass. Its just a moment and a feeling and the less attached that you are to fixing or changing it the better. This is a mantra that I often say to myself when I am getting so slammed with anger and frustration with my kiddos; “do not get attached to this outburst from them. Don’t let it pull you in”. When we approach the situation unattached, were less likely to become emotionally dysregulated.
Yo, we HAVE TO lay down the ground work before we go into a situation that may entice misbehavior. If you think, even for a second, that your kiddo may struggle before you go to that event/someones house/their sporting practice, sit down and have a chat with them. Not only to see how they may feel about that and get a read on it (think about the kid who is getting overly excited and may have trouble following your instructions because they are ramped up), but also to discuss the rules and consequences. When we run through the plan with our kids and share our expectations for behavior, they are well informed and know what they can and cannot do there. Here's an example:
Lets chat. So we are going to go to music in the park and your friend Carter will be there. I know you're so excited because you haven’t seen him in a while, it's going to be so much fun. We need to discuss some rules first though. I don’t mind if you two are playing near where we are sitting but if you want to leave that area, you need to ask me and I will walk you to a new area. If you are unable to follow that instruction and leave without asking, then you will have to take a break and sit with me for a bit. We need to keep you safe and if your body is unable to do this, I have to help. If you guys do follow that instruction, we can get a treat at the ice cream stand
You can change this up in any way you like, but the gist is that you let them know the rule and what will happen if its broken… including what will happen if its followed! I always think its good to have some positive incentives too.
These 3 tips are some quick and easy shifts that you can do to set everyone up for success. They don’t even have to be used for big outings, but can be done anytime you are entering into a situation outside of the home. A grocery store run, heading to the park, going to the pool, even the grandparents house. By lowering your expectations and shifting your mindset, while communicating the rules to your kids, there is no way you can’t make a huge impact on the overall experience.
So I am feeling the phantom comments rolling in from people reading this as I write. I’m sure a few readers are saying,
“I already do these things and need more help!”
“This is not going to work completely for my kid”
“Ill just let the sh*t show happen. Not much I can do”
I am here to address those ASAP because they are real feelings and I know they exist. So listen up, if you are feeling like these tips aren’t enough and you need a little more of a deep dive into some strategies, I've got you. I want you and your family to really thrive this summer (and always, obvi). I want you guys to have so much fun and really laugh and engage more than you even notice the crappy times. I have an approach that I take with my own children that is extremely successful and that I teach others.
Download my free guide on tackling your child's trickiest behaviors!
This jam packed guide walks you through step by step on how to tackle them ASAP. This guide will cover:
How to calmly respond when your child flat out refuses to do something and get them to cooperate!
Not only end, but PREVENT when your child is on a hitting or biting streak (Spoiler, I promise it will end!)
Supporting your shy and clingy child to feel safe near you, while venturing out at his/her pace
How to clearly understand your anxious child and guide them through their worries. this is done in a way that allows them to process it without making them grow and become bigger!
Taming those tantrums in a swift and emotionally supportive way.
This guide will teach you how to help your child through their big feelings while making sure that they don't feel bad about their behaviors.