Your children are home for summer break and sooo excited about it. They are more than ready for a couple of months free from homework, desks, and tests. They're also probably expecting — or at least hoping — for a no-rules summer. While you must maintain some level of sanity and normalcy in your household routine, change things up a bit and break a few of your parenting rules.
Your best bet is to reflect on your rules and decide which ones you can live without. Michelle Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, tells KFVE:
"Rules are always based on need. You should rethink them based on the necessities of summer. Push the pause button and ask yourself, 'What are the three rules we need to have during the summer?' Don't let it all go; just take a step backward and loosen one thing at a time."
The Not-So-Healthy Meal
Don't go crazy. Your family needs to eat a well-balanced diet. We all know this. But once or twice a month, throw caution to the wind and let your kids enjoy a banana split for lunch or even dinner if you're feeling adventurous. They'll think you're the best parent ever, and you'll get out of cooking. It's a win-win.
The Late Night
If there's no daycare, summer camp, or summer school to wake up for in the morning, let your children stay up a half-hour to an hour beyond their usual bedtime. They'll feel like big shots even if they are limited to reading books or playing a quiet game for that hour. For teenagers, consider revising their curfew but don't go overboard. The Arizona Republic asked parents and parenting experts for advice on summer curfew changes. Most felt it is OK as long as the curfew is still age-appropriate, the child calls the parents, and the child arrives home at the agreed upon time. So use your judgment, parents, and if you and your children are up for it, let 'em stay up late at least once in a while.
Your children are hopefully spending their summer days running around and having so much fun that they are wiped out by the time they get into their beds for the night. This may mean that they sleep later than usual. If you don't have any place to be, then enjoy your peaceful mornings and let your kids snore a bit longer. Breakfast is still breakfast at 11 a.m.
The Cold Shoulder
If you have gone from having your days mostly to yourself to having your children back under your care 24/7, you need a break. So go ahead, ignore those kids. (Don't really ignore your kids - especially the young ones). But please do find a way to get a minute to yourself. Whether you have to lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes or sneak a candy bar into a closet with you, get that moment. If you're having an extra stressful day, just pop in a short DVD to get 30 minutes of sanity to yourself while remaining in the same room as your kids. If none of these options work for you, get those kids all tuckered out with a plenty of outdoor play and then tuck them in early to give yourself more alone time in the evening. You and your children will be better for it. Just make sure your children are always safe!
Certain rules are important for safety, and other rules are vital to your sanity, but there are some rules meant to be broken, especially in the summer. So go ahead, be the cool parent.
If only for a couple of months.