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Summer freedom

All Areas > Parenting & Guardianship > Parenting & Guardianship

Author: Roberta Smart, Posted: Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 09:00

It is here at last – the sun is shining and we are all melting along with the roads! So how can you get the most out of your summer whilst navigating all the rigours of family life?

I am a great advocate of personal responsibility and would urge all parents to use the long summer days as a great way to begin to allow your kids a little more leeway and begin to self regulate. Not only does this offer them the opportunity to take responsibility for themselves and make them feel more grown up, but it also fosters trust between you, as you see how well they can manage themselves, or indeed, where they still need guidance and support.

Fill the fridge with good things to snack on

Begin with mealtimes. Why stick to the rigid three meals a day when no one is hungry (except for ice-cream, there’s always room for ice-cream) when you could simply fill the fridge with good things to snack on and let them graze their way through the day? Stock up on fruit and veggies, dips and non-sugar cereals. I know my bunch go mad for cornflakes with banana and I’m not too worried that they are missing out on their vitals.

What about curfew? Can they stay out later, have an extended bedtime, maybe have a few sleepovers, along with conditions that they follow your guidance around where they hang out, who they are with and how they conduct themselves? After all, negative behaviours will always result in a loss of privileges so they need to know what the new boundaries are.

Older teens will want to hang out with mates and it is likely that alcohol or smoking will be tempting them. Can you have a free and frank conversation around personal choices so that they know how to handle themselves? Is it really the end of the world if they try some cider at a friend’s garden party?

Arm your kids with confidence and autonomy

I know these days we see scare stories everywhere and all kids are able to make bad decisions, so I truly believe that arming them with confidence and autonomy, and standing by them regardless, will create close family bonds and help them forge a healthy future. If they do get it wrong, you are still there to lovingly guide them back again.

With the littlies, I think summer is a great time to explore sharing, as we spend a lot more time in public spaces – the park, pool, beach and other local areas. There is always something for them to learn and practise as they grow into stunning adults that you are proud of and they are proud to be.

It is in navigating our social situations that we all learn more about who we truly are, and summer offers us this in spades. So don’t hide away, get out and play and celebrate summer – after all, it will be gone before you know it and we will all be back to school.

And hey – don’t forget the sunscreen!

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