Summer Parenting Tips
Alright friends, this is it. The last day of school.
I know you’re all entering summer as I do — hopeful for some quiet downtime with your family, sleeping in and lots of fun in the sun. But you’re no sucker. You know that those little animals that call you Mom (or Dad) will test your patience and will to live, probably daily.
Allow me to offer some counsel for those situations that we are all sure to face. These tips are brought to you by Old School ParentingTM and a mom who is Over It.*
Challenge: It is day two of summer break. Many of your child’s friends left for the beach the moment the dismissal bell rang, and you are the horrible dungeon master who dares to defer your vacation to mid-summer. Your children are bemoaning the tragedy that is their lives stuck at home, with no beach or theme park in sight.
Solution: When your children start to complain, feign concern for their distress. Nod your head as though this first world problem really matters to you. Then use your sweetest Mom voice to inform them that you’ve taken their case into consideration and that you have a surprise for them. Tell them to quickly pack a bag, that you’ve planned an adventure vacation just for them.
Take them and their suitcases to the car, but don’t unlock it. When they’re in the driveway, close the garage and lock up the house. Tell them that you’ve left a tent in the backyard and that the adventure is trying to figure out a way back into the house. Be sure you’ve changed the garage code and picked up all the hidden keys. Put your feet up and enjoy a day of no complaining while they weep and wail in the yard.
Challenge: Your preteen has made a permanent indentation on your couch because he sits there on his phone (Xbox, iPad) all day. The house is a disaster because he has no regard for anything but screen time.
Solution: Walk around the house gathering his dirty clothes, molding dishes, loose paper, 18 pairs of tennis shoes and mildewed towels. The last and most important thing you need to grab is his phone charger. Drop all of that mess right into his lap on the couch. Tell him that his charger is included, but that he will have to sort and clean all of that junk to find it. (Of course, you didn’t actually put his charger in there. It’s hidden behind the cans of vegetables in the pantry.) Allow him to search frantically for a few hours, intermittently encouraging him to just look harder and pick up a few more things and he’s sure to find it. When he finally gets everything picked up, feign ignorance and put on your best sympathetic face when you suddenly “remember” where you put it.
Challenge: Every social activity your child asks to do requires ridiculous numbers of dollars.
Solution: (This one’s gonna blow y’alls minds… I hope you’re sitting down.) Make them earn it. Yes, even your little kids! I hope you already know that your big kids can get a real job or help around the house, but did you know that even your preschooler can earn her fun activities? Crazy, I know!
Give them a few days’ notice and a list. Tell them that you can only go if the list is completed. I’ll never forget the summer Lu poured that concrete patio to earn a trip to the movies. I feel like we’re really doing something right over here.
*These tips are not endorsed by any parenting or psychiatric professional, and in fact may be what some qualified sources would call “irresponsible” or “illegal.” Use these tips at your discretion. HomePage Media will not be responsible for any traumatized minors or incarceration in connection with the use of this column.
Overheard at the salon: “If I have to listen to her talk about her latest ‘business opportunity’ one more time, I’m gonna change my name and move to Canada.”