by Laura Dellutri
Remember that famous Alice Cooper song Parents? “School’s Out for Summer!“ I remember humming that song to myself as a teenager! I couldn't wait for summer the last day of the school year. No more waking up early to beat the school bell, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks! My girlfriends and I couldn't make enough plans concerning what we wanted to do for the summer. Of course , all without ever considering what my Mom was wanting me to accomplish at home. Believe it or not, even though my mom was a single parent she ran a tight ship during the summer. We had to wake up at a certain time, do our chores for her, make our beds before we could go out to play.
Have you given some thought to what the Summer might be looking like at your home this year? Is it going to be the house of lazy fighting siblings who make you miserable? Or a well defined oiled machine that runs smoothly?
Many times Summers can be the best and worse times for raising your children. If you are a stay at home parent or a working parent, what the kids are up to during the day can wreak heaven or heck on your life.
We all want are kids to experience the the lazy dog days of Summer! Hanging out at the swimming pool, climbing trees, riding bikes, building forts, selling lemonade, water balloon fights, drawing with chalk in the driveway for hours, catching lightening bugs and making gooey marshmallow smores on an open campfire. But the reality may be the kids just want to sit in front of that TV all day with their eyes glued to it! With the invention of Play station, and Xbox Live, many summer favorites that we did as children will never be experienced as long as we let them sit in front of the Television all day and play video games.
What’s a parent to do? Each summer you may want to design a custom made boot camp for your home. One that will help you whether you are home all day with your kids or not. We are not talking about a boot camp for bad kids, we are talking about a home boot camp that will offer structure and expectations for your child’s day. Thus, keeping him out of a detention boot camp from lack of direction, discipline and rules you forgot to instill along the way!
Here is an example of what a Summer Home Boot Camp should look like.
Hold a Family Meeting Before School is out!
Set the Rules and Enforce from Day 1 of Summer Vacation. DO NOT …REPEAT..DO NOT let you children have even one week without some type of guidelines. The house will be in a shambles! Children need rules, guidelines and clear cut expectations! A child left to himself will do childish things you may not approve of. Outline schedules, summer vacations and child care rules.
Set a Wake up Time, Shower Time , breakfast time, Activities for the day
So many parents complain about kids sleeping until noon in the summer months, teenagers tend to be the worst offenders, then they want to stay up all night! Teens are so lazy at times, they will sleep in, roll over, turn on the video game and when you walk in at 6:00 PM they still haven’t showered or brushed their stinky teeth! Let alone, the house is a wreck dishes are in the sink and they have accomplished nothing good the entire day except being a couch potato.
Rule #3 Don’t Raise Lazy Kids! Start the Work Before Your Play Philosophy every morning--i.e. CHORES
Do not let one day go by without your children doing the necessary chores you want done! You are not the maid or butler (guys)! You want them to clean their daily dishes done? Do you want them to start dinner? A load of laundry? Be tough--and tell your children to stop WHINING! Your child’s future spouse will thank you, their college room mates will thank you as well as their co-workers. Are the kids going to whine cry, coerce, and try to get out of chores? YES at first, until they know you mean business, and they will have harsh consequences if the work isn't done as requested. Stop giving the money, the movies, the extra clothing the toys if they don’t earn it! You can’t go anywhere in life without being a hard worker! My famous line for my children growing up, “I am not raising a LAZY man, or a LAZY woman.” I think they got the picture as they all are great cleaners and hard workers!
Rule #4 Have a NO Hit-NO FIGHTING Sibling rule for the Household.
Siblings rivalry and fighting may be normal, but my philosophy is don’t tolerate the intolerable! I have seen parents let boys beat each other up right in front of me while she was cutting my hair! One brother was choking the other! It made me nauseous, hitting never solves anything. How awful to even let a child think they have the right to raise their hand to their sibling? No child should ever strike another and this is something that needs to be attacked and instilled in your children from 2 years old and up! I have seen sisters spit in each other’s face and the parents shake their head saying that is how they are! YOU are the PARENT never let your children hit, strike, scream, or argue with their sibling. All they have is each other if you and your spouse were gone. We instilled a no hit rule when I operated my day care, when I married my husband his mother also has a no hit, no fighting rule in their home. He has never laid a hand on his siblings nor them on him. It can be done! It can!
Rule #5 STICK TO BACK TO THE BASIC PARENTING
Turn off the Television and take your kids back to the real summer fun without electronics!
Rule #6 FOLLOW THE RULES & HOLD EVERYONE ACCOUNTABLE
This will not work until the children learn they are going to be held accountable. We Respect what we Inspect! There has to be accountability in a family. Consequences for infractions, that is the reason I refer to your home summer boot camp. Because you may feel like a Drill Sear gent at times and you have to push forward with the rules, whether you are tired, drained or feeling like it’s too much to hold everyone accountable.
Sometimes the Mom is the slacker (i.e. .weak parent in my family it’s me! I hate confrontation and just want to give up and do the chore myself it’s easier than hearing the kids complain! Don’t do it. Stick to your guns! If I can do it you can to! Just change you and the children will adapt with the changes!) Trust me, your own boot camp can be fun and structured and make you feel like your home is a source of calm not chaos!