Have you seen the posts, reels, or videos about how you need to treasure every summer moment as a parent because you only get 18 summers with your child(ren)?

How do those make you feel? Scared into being a more fun mom? Do they add on the mom guilt? That’s just what we need, isn’t it? More mom guilt!

Instead of guilting our way into being the best summer mom social media could imagine- how about we try something else? How about we try living as the kind of mom we choose to be? How about we stick with the science of behavior to help keep the peace in our homes this summer?

What does it mean for you to have the most fulfilling summer with YOUR family? What qualities would that entail? What are some qualities you want to cultivate this summer with your family?

Here are just a few examples:

  • Kindness
  • Fun
  • Adventure
  • Calm
  • Independent
  • Helpful
Choose a few qualities that you really want your summertime with your family to be all about. Even better- choose these as a family. Talk about what qualities are most important.
Now we can choose our tiny behaviors, action steps, or just busy activities based on this list we’ve made. Once you know what you WANT, then you can CHOOSE how to behave.
Your family has a busy weekend planned but you got invited to a neighborhood event. Does going to the event line up with those qualities you chose? Does politely declining line up with your chosen qualities? Choose which one is the best fit.

Your child is spending a lot of time on screens this summer. You are feeling the mom guilt about it. Weigh the amount of screen time against your chosen values, or chosen qualities. Is their screen time helping you to be responsible at work? Is their screen time limiting their chances to be helpful around the house? There’s no right or wrong answer. There IS a way to just measure the options against your chosen values.

In addition to behavior challenges, moms may also find it challenging to manage unstructured days during the summer. With fewer activities and routines in place, kids may become bored and restless, which can lead to more behavior issues. This can be especially tough for moms who work from home or have other responsibilities to attend to.
What if something doesn’t line up to your chosen qualities? Work on small changes to get you more aligned.

Choosing things in line with your values makes life more meaningful. It’s more innately reinforcing. It just feels good! That makes it worth it to make small adjustments to your daily choices, routines, activities, or big decisions like travel planning or social commitments.

When it comes to parenting choices, stick with the science of behavior to help make these adjustments.

What if your child is not (yet) showing many behaviors that reflect your family’s chosen qualities?

When a behavior/action/ skill isn’t happening often enough or independently, we do 2 things:

  1. Increase reinforcement
  2. Make it easier
If you aren’t seeing enough of a desired skill that lines up with your family’s chosen qualities, make it more reinforcing for your child to do that skill or show that behavior. This means to make it more fun and more worth it to your child.

You might also need to make it easier for your child to do the skill- whether it’s sharing with a sibling, speaking respectfully, following parents’ directions, using co-regulation skills when upset- you name it! In order to make it easier for your child, think about what part of the task is difficult for your child and find ways to teach that part of it. Break the skill/task down into smaller or more “doable” steps and teach towards the desired goal.

There are sooo many ways to up the motivation and likelihood that your child will start showing more of the behaviors that reflect your family’s chosen qualities by using reinforcement and/or by making the skill more doable.

Think of ways you can make the activity more enjoyable, add an earned “reward,” and/or break the skill down into smaller, simpler steps.

Adding these components will help your child be more successful as they learn and grow in their abilities.

In summary, choose what kind of family you want to be this summer. Make small or big adjustments to help you stay true to the type of parent you envision for yourself and live that more meaningful life as a family this summer!
Not sure where to start? You don’t have to go it alone.  Schedule your FREE brainstorming session by clicking here!
Or check out the Summer Behavior Reset mini online course for parents. Click here to learn more and join now!