Summer vacation is just around the corner. And for those of us at home with the kids, our “Summer Bucket Lists” are beginning to take form. There will be beach outings, play dates, tons of DIY crafts, and picnics at the park. Our mornings will be less rushed. (Yay!) Our kids’ bathing routines will go out the window. (Swimming is the same as showering, right?) And, iced-coffee in hand, we’ll feel armed and ready to make this summer a summer to remember!
We will embrace our wide open schedules for a while; appreciating the newfound freedom and lack of clock watching. But, we all know, after the twentieth round of slime making (suddenly, I miss the rainbow loom days), we’ll soon find those summer days, and the mess that comes along with them, long.
The days will feel very long, at times. And we’ll feel a little hint of appreciation for the routine that the school year brings.
The truth is, the novelty of those loungy mornings and the lack of routine fades within a week. The kids end up on their technology more than we would like. And, inevitably, they start to bicker with each other.
Their bickering then leads to blowouts.
And their blowouts are enough to send us straight to a secret location, ice cream in hand!
By the time September rolls around, we will be shocked at how ready we feel to embrace our scheduled lives, yet again.
BUT that’s then and this is now! The summer is about to begin and, in this moment, we are determined to embrace it!
I want to make the most of this time with my kids and I want to help them appreciate their days together, as well. This is why I like to combat (some of) the fighting before it begins.
For us, this comes in the form of: ‘The Sibling Goodness Jar.’
Basically, the way it works is: Each day I keep an eye out for kind acts like sharing, helping, even just simply playing nicely together. I look for positive sibling interactions and, when I see one, I point it out and I reward it.
It goes something like this:
Kids are playing together, peacefully.
Me: “I LOVE the way you’re sharing your toys with your sister, right now!”
Kids grin, proudly.
Me: “I like it so much, that I am going to put a candy in the jar!”
I then go, grab a candy and toss it in a clear glass jar with a lid. Boom! Just like that I unleash my quasi Pavlovian parenting.
As the week goes by, I watch out for the good and I reward it verbally and also by tossing a candy in the treat jar. At the end of each week, we have a movie night as a family. The candy “earned” throughout the week is what they get to eat while watching their movie together.
Some weeks, their candy collection is sparse.
Other weeks, they rock and have a feast to share.
This is how we do it at our house and maybe it would work for you at yours?!
This is not to say, the kids won’t still fight. I’m sure they will. But, it’s nice to give them a joint goal to work towards together. Happy summer!
What are some of your secrets that help the kids (and you) have a peaceful summer?