by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW
The end of the school year is fast approaching! In my household, I have one child wrapping up preschool this week and another finishing kindergarten next week. And then…three kids at home…all day…for the whole summer. This lays a pretty ripe foundation for a whole lot of sibling competition and arguing, not a lot of structure, and a house that is always a mess of sand, dirt, and paper creations. For me, being a Type A--I like structure--I don’t like mess type of person, just the anticipation of this has been enough for me to feel the anxiety creep in these last couple of weeks.
In my household, we’re trying to come up with some age appropriate systems for getting household responsibilities done each day, for keeping the house somewhat kept together, and to give incentives for positive sibling interaction, not to mention add some semblance of structure to the day to keep us all sane. And a bonus would be to curb the “I’m hungry I need a snack” comments that I hear almost every hour from my four and a half year old, which usually equals “I’m not hungry” at suppertime! I’ve had conversations with friends, have read some idea books, and have checked out blogs on these topics and have found that there is a wealth of information out there when it comes to summer survival!
Our culture certainly reinforces this notion that we have to figure it out all on our own—individualism is viewed as a strength. Our neighbors, who just returned from 5 months in Ghana, have helped me understand in describing their experiences, that other cultures view parenthood and child rearing as a communal activity—which decreases the “I’m so alone in all of these struggles” mentality that often invades our thinking when challenges arise.
So, I’m looking for best practices that you have found to be successful in your family. Or maybe you’ve found out through experimentation what doesn’t work—I’d like to know that too! Instead of reinventing the wheel let’s draw some ideas from each other because we’re all in this together!