"Summer time, and the living is easy," goes the song.
It's true -- in someone else's house -- because in your house, the kids are running around the living room, the piles of dishes and laundry are growing, and the dog just tracked muddy paw prints across the kitchen floor.
How can you cope with the stress of having the kids home from school in the summer? Here are some tips:
- Gather up the children and go for a walk. Everyone will benefit from the fresh air and sunshine, and you'll burn up calories while the kids burn up energy and have fun. Remember to apply sunscreen and wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Ask for help. Utilize your partner, team up with other mothers, or hire a babysitter to watch the children when you need help.
- Use community resources. Contact the library or your local bookstore and ask about storytelling times. Visit the zoo, walk through a museum or have a picnic in the park.
- Limit television and video games. Instead, engage your children in activities that require physical activity and make exercise fun. For example, have the kids help wash the car. Then, cool everyone off with a summer dousing. Laughter eases summer stress.
- Give yourself a time out. Schedule time for activities without the kids. Take a bath, go out for a movie, have coffee with friends. Making time for yourself can make you feel better and builds your reserves.
- Organize, prioritize and set a routine. Summer with the kids doesn't have to be a disorganized jumble of unstructured activities. Plot out a series of routines that you -- and the children -- can happily cope with.
- Get enough rest and exercise. Taking care of your personal needs will give you the energy you need to cope with active kids.
- Eat nutritious meals. Summer fruits and vegetables make it easy to eat simple, well-balanced meals.
- Talk to your kids. One of the best gifts you can give your child, and yourself, is quality time. Give yourself permission to let a chore slide once in a while so that you can spend time communicating with your children.
- Count to ten and remember that feeling stress is normal, but there are ways to cope.