“It is official: summer is here. While it is traditionally a time to kick back and relax a bit, parents of young children may face new or different stresses during the summer,” explains Tonya Millard, Director at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital’s Family Resource Center.
Some may have childcare issues not present during the school year. Others may have problems with transportation to summertime activities. Still others might not enjoy having youngsters around the house all the time that are complaining, “I’m bored.”
But those types of stress can be faced successfully if parents have some plans in place to deal with the inevitable. Family Resource Center offers the following suggestions for 10 ways parents can relieve summertime stress:
- Get some exercise. It is the number one thing that will reduce stress, both physically and mentally.
- Ask for help. If you are stressed out, ask a relative, friend, or neighbor for help with temporary babysitting, providing transportation, or even routine childcare.
- Be optimistic. Identify the positive aspects of a situation and look for solutions instead of focusing on negatives and problems.
- Set realistic expectations for yourself. Expecting overnight solutions to big challenges will only create feelings of failure. Celebrate small successes toward resolution.
- Have realistic expectations for others, particularly children. Conflict and stress often occur when parents have higher expectations for their children than what may be developmentally appropriate for their age.
- Address and deal with what you can control, not what you can’t.
- Do your research. Find how-to/self-help books at your local library. Look online at parenting resources. Surf the internet to get help by keying in a few words about your particular struggle or challenge.
- Be flexible. Flexibility adds to your family resilience, which will help in times of stress.
- Take a parenting class or join a support group. Family Resource Center offers resources for all families. Call 608-357-2135 or email the center at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of their current newsletter.
- Make plans for family fun. Get outdoors. Have a cookout. Go to the river. Take a walk. Hunt for butterflies. Go bird watching. Your plans don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Half the fun is the anticipation of looking forward to something so involve everyone in making the plans several days in advance. Suggested activities for children complaining of summer boredom include exercise (walking, running, biking, swimming, or playing outdoor games), self expression (drawing, creating, journaling, or gardening), music (sing, dance, go to concerts in the park) or social activities to do something fun with friends who also have children.
For additional information and resources available for your family at Family Resource Center call (608) 357-2135. PdC Memorial Hospital’s Family Resource Center is located at 800 East Taylor Street in Prairie du Chien.