Summer ResetJul 06, 2023
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We’re a few weeks into summer, and you might be starting to feel like you’re in the doldrums. If you’ve been feeling frustrated, disappointed or sad that your summer isn’t going quite the way you hoped it would, this is the episode for you. I’m talking about how to do a summer reset and get things back on track.
Why Your Summer Sucks
We have a lot of ideas about what summer will be like, and then we get into it. We’re completely out of our regular rhythm, we’re spending a lot more time with our kids and they’re spending a lot more time with us and each other. And summer doesn’t feel so easy anymore.
Before you can reset, it helps to understand what the actual problems are that you’re facing. Then, we can solve for them. Here are some top reasons you might be feeling like your summer sucks right now.
Weather. When it’s hot, humid and sticky out, people get grumpy. When we’re physically uncomfortable, it’s harder to regulate our emotions.
Your kids are fighting all the time. Your kids are spending a ton of time together, so you start to see patterns where they’re bickering, picking on each other or just annoyed with each other all the time. (Come back next week for an episode all about summer and siblings.)
Your kids are resistant to summer camp. We think of summer camp as being so much fun for our kids, but it is still a lot of work for them - being physical, spending time outside and being in new social groups can be hard. If they hate it or resist it and are crying and having big feeling cycles everyday, it can feel really frustrating for you.
Your kids are missing school and their friends. There’s a rhythm and predictability to school that helps kids feel safe. Kids know where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing. And they have their school friends, who aren’t always available to them in the summer, so they might feel a bit lonely, too.
Expectations. Kids create a “Disneyland” version of summer in their minds (and so do we). They want the fun, the freedom and the all-summer vacation feeling. But the reality is that you’re still going to tell them to eat their veggies, clean up, take a bath and go to bed. Those unmet expectations of nonstop fun can lead to disappointment and grumpy moods.
Sleep (or lack thereof). Sleep is whacked in the summer. You want to let kids stay up late to do fun things, but then they wake up even earlier. Tired kids are grumpy kids, and the tiredness often shows up as adrenaline, so they’re running wild.
Junk food. We tend to give our kids a lot more treats and quick, easy snacks in the summer. So while they get a quick burst of energy, they then burn out pretty quickly. Even if they’re not hungry, their brain starts to crave more of that energy from sugar or fast carbs, rather than foods that stay and sustain energy longer in their bodies.
Screens. Lots of kids have extra screen time in the summer. There are a lot more hours to fill. And this isn’t wrong. But what happens is that they often end up feeling more grumpy and dissatisfied afterwards.
Do A Summer Reset
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of fun things about summer. But you’re much more likely to enjoy them when everyone is pretty well regulated. Here are some strategies to get your family back on track.
Build back some rhythm. This is a great strategy if you feel out of balance with sleep, food or screens. There are no fast rules about what these limits should be. If you had a pretty good rhythm for this during the school year, start by having a day or two each week where you go back to your old routine.
You might choose a day where you focus on your routine around meals or have an at-home night so you can get back into your evening and bedtime routine.
Get a break. Go do something fun without your kids. Plan a mom’s night out, get a babysitter for a date night or do a kid swap with another mom so you both get a little time off. Do some things to take care of yourself.
Plan a “breathe-in day”. Summer is busy. There’s a lot of movement and energy and stimulation (the breathing out). A breathe-in day lets you chill and recharge. Think about easy, quiet activities like going to the library or to a movie or throwing a stuffed animal party.
Check your mindset. When you have a day or a week this summer that’s not going great and you're feeling super grumpy, I want you to actually process that negative emotion. I call this Calm Mama Thinking.
Reset your mind to the thoughts that you want to have, so you can feel the feeling you want to have.
Step 1: Do a thought dump. List out what you’re feeling and why. Let yourself vent and be frustrated.
Step 2: Think about what feeling you are chasing. How do you want to feel instead?
Step 3: Do a thought swap. What thoughts do you need to think in order to feel the way you want to feel?
The mindset will help you shift out of that grumpy feeling and get you into a place where you can have more compassion for your kids. And when they experience your compassion, they’ll be more able to calm and regulate themselves.
There are a lot of reasons why summer goes off the rails, and it has very little to do with you. When you see a lot of off-track behavior, remember that ALL behavior is driven by feelings and your kid is probably overwhelmed in some way.
When you’re off track, let’s reset. Reset our rhythms, reset our routines, reset our connection and start fresh.
- Common challenges with kids in the summer
- 4 strategies to do a summer reset and get things back on track
- Some thoughts you can borrow to create the feelings you want this summer
- Blog Post: If Your Kid Doesn’t Like Summer Camp
- Episode 10: Pause & Reset Your Mind
- Episode 61: Parenting Stress Cycles
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