Summer Break 2017 is in full effect at our house. We got out of school the Thursday before Memorial Day. Around here this is both a blessed time and one that will test our parenting patience quickly. By mid-May, we are phoning it in and counting down the days. We have looked at the calendar and planned some fun and frankly, we would like to just get to it already! Then, the day has finally arrived and Summer Break begins…and so does the fighting. Prior to today, your house either had no kids in the middle of the day, or at least a reduced number and now they are ALL HOME–ALL THE TIME!
Obviously, we missed them. They were gone for a big chunk of the day. I LOVE having my kids home for the summer, but I am here to tell you that re-entry is a real thing. These kids have had a routine for 10 months. They may be just as ready as you are for the break, but their whole, little self needs time to acclimate to the new norm. I was extremely fortunate to realize this early on in the game and it has made the first week of Summer Break go a bit smoother (for me at least). I am a rational person raising irrational individuals so I struggle sometimes to understand why they behave the way they do. I am no expert, but think about the way their routines have been wrecked (even if it is for the better). Kids have feelings they do not understand. Even if they are thrilled for summer break, they may also have sadness about the end of their secure routine. They may be thinking of how much they will miss seeing some of their friends and that favorite teacher. There is so much just below the surface, and we can get so busy readjusting to our new norm that we forget that they are too.
A few things to remember during re-entry week.
- It really will get better. They will learn to be around each other more and will start to act better soon.
- Each kid will process the end of school differently. I have one who skips off the bus without a care in the world, then I have one who is a bawling mess and tends to need to grieve the end of another school year for a few days. Be sensitive to THEIR feelings about school, not just how you perceive the end of the school year to be.
- GIve yourself that grace too. If it is day 2 and you are already hiding in the pantry with a pint of Halo Top ice cream just know you are not alone. As much as we want them to be home…this week is just something we have to get through. The fun will come.
Here are some tips I use to make re-entry week better.
- I like to give my kids a few days of grace. I try really hard to have extra patience during this week. They have consequences for the flailing outbursts and whatnot, but I give them a few more chances to calm down during this week.
- Individual dates during this first week help me get a pulse for how each kid is doing. For example, I take just one on an errand during the weekend when Dad is home and ask how they are doing. I also ask lots of questions about summer and who they want to try to play with and anything fun around town they would like to do.
- I go out more in this first week. I know for myself, I am a better mother in public. We do the library, pool, bike ride, or park for at least an hour or so each day to give them something.
- Reach out to your mom friends. They understand what this week is and it feels good to hear “me too”.
Last but not least, you, Mama, are killing it! Mothering is hard and everyone has a loud opinion these days. You just keep loving those kiddos and doing your best and I am sure they will be grateful (someday). Never forget that God gives us provision for the day. Don’t neglect tucking away for just a few minutes and doing a quick devotional and a prayer of dependence on HIS power to help you navigate the relationships between siblings and how they relate to you as well. I know God gave these kids to YOU on purpose. These years go by fast, but not a single obstacle is without provision. Ask. Listen. Trust.
I would love to hear from you! Is re-entry week a thing with your kids? How do you cope? Facebook is my favorite place for community discussion so if you can click here to join in on the conversation.