Summer vacation parenting

Parenting and its endless challenges takes on a new spin during summer vacation, it seems.

It’s not that we’re less consistent or inclined to let things slide more often, although that does happen sometimes. Rather it’s about the whole family being more relaxed on a different level. There are less schedules to follow, particularly when no one is going to work or camp, or lessons of some kind, and we’re all just kind of living into the day.

But living with kids will eventually nudge you back into reality when you observe certain behaviours that you think have been dealt with in the past. Certain inappropriate behaviours that resurface, and make you shake your head in disbelief. You may lose it, you may cry, you may lash out, or you may sit down at the blog to post out a solution.

I did all of the above and came up with something that I can hopefully use to my advantage in order to get everyone back on track. Frankly, at age 8 and 5, they are old enough to know better. And whether they comprehend it or not, WE ADULTS ARE ALSO ON VACATION, so get with the program, you little rascals…

Sigh.

Recently I wrote about a summer cash budget system I set up to cover all those loose expenses that occur when gallivanting around during summer vacation. It is this exact system that I can use to my advantage in order to re-allign their negative behaviour to the desired outcome. The little cash envelopes I carry around with me wherever we go can remain safely tucked away in my bag rather than come out when we see the ice cream truck, for example. And simple sentences may, hopefully, ignite their sleepy brains into action and profound understanding that hey, mommy really means it.

Take yesterday. We were at a great park that was recently renovated. The kids has a blast, ran into friends, climbed monkey bars and other funky equipment, and came to visit me every once in a while for crackers, cheese and grapes snacks. I was sitting and chatting with someone and it was a lovely, relaxing time.

Eventually they wanted to go check out the boardwalk and beach, so we packed up and wandered over there. Well wouldn’t you have it, the ice cream truck was at the parking lot. Immediately Sonja started asking for ice cream. I looked at Ben and my expression must have been kind of severe because he closed his open mouth without making a sound.

Sonja, being 5, didn’t notice anything other than what SHE wanted (ice cream) and when we walked past the truck, she started throwing a fit. WHY CAN’T WE HAVE ICE CREAM? she wanted to know.

I said this:

Ice cream would have been fun today! But unfortunately, you and Ben’s behaviour was not very cooperative during Auntie’s visit, so no ice cream today. We’ll see how it goes the next time we have a visitor over.

Oh my. She was so upset. But Ben got it…and never mentioned ice cream again that day.

Other summer related blog posts:

Backyard pools and all their issues
The occasional appeal of indoor playgrounds
Long car trips with small children
Morphing into a drama queen

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