You want to have fun with the kids this summer but it’s overwhelming dealing with questions, food requests, screen time management, and picking up dishes everywhere! Here are some tips for not losing your mind this summer!
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Talking about keeping your cool over the summer with your kids. Here’s the thing. As children, we have kind of these fond memories of childhood and summertime, and it’s like fun. And we think about the high highs sometimes we have some low lows there, too. But in general, there’s like an American fondness for summertime. And then we have kids, and we want to perpetuate this, like, oh, Popsicles and swimming and going to the park and those kinds of things. We have this idea, and then we try to live it out. And it’s terrible.
It’s terrible. All of you know this. All of you know that without the things I’m going to teach you in this podcast. Doing summertime with kids is really, really terrible. And I think so much of it is around this expectation. We expect that it’s going to be lovely, smooth sailing, that the kids are just going to have a wonderful time and say, thank you, mom. And that’s just not how it goes in general. The way that it goes is it’s kind of stressful pulling all the things together.
And then there’s lots of crying. There’s sibling fights there. I don’t want to get in the car because it’s hot. She touched me. I don’t want to sit next to her. I’m so hungry there. Managing their food and their screen time. And then you just feel terrible about yourself either because you’re yelling at them because you don’t know what to do.
It’s not what you expected it to be. And then you’re going to do certain behaviors to cope with feeling terrible about that. Okay, so mismanaged expectations, kids doing normal kid things, you reacting poorly to that. And then you are doing something probably not great to cope with, feeling bad about how you reacted. Okay, that’s kind of the summer spiral. And I remember feeling like that when I had two little kids and there’s kind of no summer time with little kids. They weren’t going to school. It wasn’t like they were going to school and they came home for summer break.
It’s just that I also thought we’re going to have more fun because the sun is out. And then I would do things like take them to the zoo, and then they would just cry over not getting to go on the carousel or buy an $11 cotton candy or something. And I would just think, why am I doing this? This is terrible. So I’m going to tell you some things that you can do to have a better summer and to keep your cool. Will it be perfect? No, you already know that. But I will tell you it will be a lot better than it is now. And I’m going to be hosting a workshop called Keep Your Cool, where I’m going to dive in in more detail to all of these things. But I’m going to tell you all of the things, and it’s a lot because it’s a three day workshop.
So if you feel like this is a lot, pause this podcast totally fine and listen to it again with a piece of paper where you can take notes and you can challenge yourself to implement some of these things. So the three days in this workshop are going to cover day one is going to be coming back to calm. We’re going to talk about calming your nervous system down. And you’ve got to be calm before reacting to the kids. The second day is going to be about inviting God in and really just threading him throughout your whole day and your plans and everything. We can all just step it up there. And I am telling you, learning how to do that makes life so much better. And then the third day is about rock solid planning.
And if you’re planning from fear or scarcity or hustle or fantasy land, it’s not going to be great plans. And so I’m going to show you how to make really, really good plans and then what to do if things don’t go according to plan. So let’s talk about calming down first. Okay? We don’t learn how to do this. It’s not part of school. I don’t understand why to me now, it just seems so obvious that everyone needs to learn that they have a nervous system and fight or flight responses when they’re stressed. And that it hurts your body to be in a high stress state and to have the tools for calming down and just even to know that that’s necessary. So many of us right
That’s why it’s not ideal and that’s why later we feel so bad about it. And so I want you to pay attention throughout the day to how often you feel stressed. Maybe very stressed, maybe low level stressed. And I want you to just begin to tell yourself, I’m kind of stressed right now, I think I’m having a stress response. And then just know that there are all these tools that you can use to calm down. There’s box breathing where you breathe in for the count of four, you hold your breath for 4 seconds. You breathe out for the count of four and you hold your breath for 4 seconds. The box, box breathing.
I really like breathing as much oxygen in as I possibly can and then holding my breath for 3 seconds and then blowing it out slowly than my body wants to. And doing that several times to flood my brain with oxygen. Because I just know now I’m like, hey Sterling, when you’re stressed you’re kind of, you’re kind of a dumb dumb. Let’s get some oxygen in there, let’s calm down. And then you’re actually really good at problem solving. You’re very intuitive. You have this beautiful feminine genius. You know what everyone needs.
My husband said that to me the other day. He goes, I really love that you just have a good pulse on what’s going on in the house, because he had come in and there had been, like, a sibling squabble and then Forest had gotten in trouble for something. And I said, hey, you know what? The energy right now is just a little weird and crunchy. So what are we going to do? We had, like, a huddle up. How are we going to spend the rest of the night? And it was later that he just said, hey, I really value that, that you’re just kind of intuitive and you know those things. I don’t see those things. And I just think that’s the feminine genius. You know what your kids need, you know how they’re feeling, but you’re not great at problem solving.
That when you’re stressed or feeling guilty, like it’s your fault or something’s wrong, you’ve got to come back to calm. And I think that we need different strategies when we’re in the house versus when we’re out of the house, because you can’t necessarily go for a walk around the block and drink some tea when you’re out of the house. So you need to have different tools, and some of them can involve praying. But I just want you to be careful there because when you’re praying from a stress state, it may not be as effective as if you do some breathing exercises first, calm down and then pray. So the second thing is really inviting the Lord into your plans and into your day. And I know that you are prayerful right? A lot of you pray a lot, but I want you to just be a little more systematic about it. I want you to pray about your whole summer. I want you to just ask Him, what should we do this summer? What do the kids need? Where should my focus be? And then I want you to pray for the week.
I pray and ask God and ask the Lord, what are we doing this week? What should be important? And then you’re going to pray for the day. And most of you are praying in the morning in some way. And I just want you to continue doing it whatever way you’re doing it, because that obviously works for you. But then just add on a little bit more prayer about planning the day. Lord, what should we do today? What should we not do? What should we focus on? What virtue do you want me to have at the front of my mind? What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? What gift of the Holy Spirit do I want to pray for today? I mean, just really practical things. You can pray about food. What should we feed these kids today? You can think about it ahead of time, but involving the Lord into your planning is going to make you feel so much better about your plans. And then I want you to pray all throughout the day.
I just want you to link arms with Jesus when things are feeling squirrely, just really imagine linking arms with Him and Him smiling at you and just believing in you. Just bring him into more moments. Lord, be with me in this moment. Guide me, give me the right words. Help me to come back to peace. I want all of us to ten X how much? We’re talking to the Lord throughout the day. He’s right there and he has what you need. He loves you so much.
He’s your biggest cheerleader. And we just kind of leave him in the corner for a lot of the day. And then we’re like, it’s so hard. And he’s standing there like, I’ll help you anytime you’re ready for the help, so bring God into your day. Then we’re going to talk about rock solid plants. And I think there’s this idea of building a house on the sand, and I think we make plans that way, too. We
They’re based in fantasy land, like what we think are in the movies or on Instagram or again, even how you remember your childhood. You remember your childhood in the fantasyland version of your childhood. So my husband’s mom bred golden retriever puppies, I think, once or twice. It wasn’t a regular thing for them. And he talks about it so fondly. He’s like, oh, my goodness, it’s so great to grow up with puppies and to learn how to take care of them. And my brother and my sister and I, we just loved it. And I remember saying to him, I bet it was horrible for your mom.
Like, I bet they pooped everywhere and she had to give them medication, and I bet they cried a lot. But his childhood version was just all sparkles. And then when we talked, he was like, yeah, probably. But that just wasn’t even on his radar because children remember things fondly, which, by the way, is such great news because you’re sure they’re only going to remember the good, the terrible things, but they do just remember the good things in a general way, like, oh, we went camping. They will not remember the camping trip that you took this year, necessarily, but they just remember that you went camping or they went to the lake or that you put up sprinklers in the yard. So that helps me to feel so much better about the summer, if I’m like, yeah, children just kind of remember the broad strokes. And so when we build our plans on the sand of fear, scarcity, pridefulness, fantasy land, sure, it’s shaky. The Bible tells us not to do that.
Instead, we want to build our plans on the rock. We want to involve the Lord in the planning. We want to think about raising saints and being a saint ourselves, like, really taking a virtue look on why are we doing this? What are we trying to get out of this? What is this experience providing for our family? So for camping, it might be connected with each other. It’s so great to be out of our regular home environment that tends to create bonding experiences, and it’s so great to be away from electronics. And so deciding, why are we doing this? What are we trying to grow as a family? And then really challenging yourself on, how can I make this easy for myself? Because you could make really complex camping food, or you can pre make breakfast burritos and just heat them up in the fire and they’re all ready. And then you throw it away. And then my brain immediately goes, oh, but aluminum will give us all cancer, so I probably shouldn’t do that. And I’m like, really? Or is it fine for two mornings while we go camping? And I don’t know the answer.
I’m not making the answer for you, but I just know that we make things so much harder for ourselves instead of thinking, how do I want to experience this childhood event? Because we’re so focused on them. And that’s a lovely thing, but I want you to be focused on yourself as well and your mental health. Just like, how can I make this simpler or easier? Or how can I be more prepared? What’s likely to go wrong? Am I prepared for that? And a lot of you are doing planning right now, but it’s like on the fly, frantic. Your breathing is shallow and fast, and you’re just like, do I have bandits? Okay. Do I need this? Okay, I want you to do it slowly. Lovingly prayerfully. We’re going to make rock solid plans. I’m going to teach you guys how to do that.
And one of the ways that we do that is we create protocols for things. And protocols are great around unusual events that we then, like, once the event has happened, we’re very bad at planning. So I think migraines are a great example. If you get migraines, by the time you have a migraine, we don’t want to be making the plan then we want to make the plan ahead of time, which is how are we going to live a regular summer day? If you have a migraine, I want you to decide that ahead of time. What food are they going to eat? Are you going to let them watch an extra movie? Are you going to call a friend to come watch your kids? Are you going to send them into the neighbor’s house so you can take a nap? Like, what are you going to do, make those plans ahead of time? So I think it’s really great to have protocols around sickness, yours or theirs, husbands traveling or working late, probably sports or camps or VBS. Like, just acknowledge that you live differently. VBS week. That’s Vacation Bible school.
I’m sorry, just assumed everyone knew that. But vacation bible school week is better than not vacation bible school week. So let’s just decide ahead of time. There’s going to be extra driving. Are you making snacks? The kids are going to be extra tired. Just decide ahead of time what your VBS protocol is going to be and then I’m going to teach you in this workshop about how to do leveraged action and A. Leveraged action. I’ve talked about this before, we might even have a whole podcast about it as things that you can do to make all future tasks easier or unnecessary.
So I love to share the example of how I used to pick up socks all around my house and it drove me bananas. And then of course nobody cared as much as I did because kids are kids, they don’t care about socks. And so instead I just got this basket and we put it by the front door and all the socks go in there. And so when the laundry gets sorted, all the socks get sorted out and put in the basket and then it’s just in the front door and as soon as you come in, take your socks off, put it there. So I had to find the basket and I had to teach the children many times how to do that. So that is the example of leveraged action, getting the basket and training them. But then it made future incidents of picking up socks, I’m not going to say completely unnecessary. I’m sure I still pick them up every once in a while, but drastically less so.
We want to do that for the summertime. Do we need to install hooks somewhere for the towels? Then they have a place and not on the floor. One of my friends just shared that she pre-bagged. So she would buy a big bag of chips and then she would pre baggy them and then she would tell the kids, here’s your snack trait. These are the snacks that you get for the day. When it’s gone, it’s gone. We can eat them all at 10:00 A.m. If you want, you can eat them at your own leisure throughout the day.
I thought that was a great example of a leveraged action that then prevents food questions. So it makes other things unnecessary. Makes you having to answer food questions all throughout the day unnecessary. The way we do that is they have access to almonds and carrots in between meals. By the way, I posted that on TikTok and the TikTokers came for me and they were like you’re creating all these, what do they call it, food issues and the kids and you’re making it sound like there’s good food and bad food. And I was like, no y’all, I feed my kids so well, they eat so many fun things and I give them tons of fruit. I don’t make them eat there. So many things.
I feel so good about how our kids eat. It’s just in between meals. I will not be talking to you about snacks, and you will not live off of yogurt and chips and apples, which is what a hundred percent of the kids would live off of if you let them. Now, if we get to lunch and you want yogurt or chips or an apple, rock on. We’ll do it if we have it. We tend not to have yogurt a ton or chips a ton. Those are kind of fun and special, but I don’t tell them that they’re bad. I’m not like kids.
These are bad. You’re going to grow horns if you eat chips. And so just decide how you want to feed your kids and feel good about it. No one will ever agree with how you’re doing it. So protocols and leveraged action are a really big part of creating rock solid plans. And then I want you to just decide what the rules are in the house. Rules are very squirrely. I love to talk about sibling fights, right? Like, what is a sibling fight? When does it tip over from just, like, talking or playing or rough housing? And then now it’s a fight.
Is it the tone of voice? Is it when someone cries? Was it 30 seconds before someone cried? And then you want to identify the skill that the kids are missing. So a lot of times we just focus on the rule. Here’s the rule. Do it or there’s a consequence. And I think the rules should be clear, and I think the consequences should be clear, even to you. But I think there’s this extra opportunity that we have to explore what is the skill that the child needs in order to do this. So, for example, if you’re trying to teach a two year old that they cannot open the door, the front door, and just leave the house, you should say, if you open the front door, here is the consequence. But then you’re going to build up the skill of impulse control.
The impulse is, I want to go outside, so I will go outside. And impulse control is saying, hey, sometimes we want something, but then there is a consequence for doing it and slowing down. And maybe you put a stop sign on the front door as a visual cue, and you walk them up and you go, do you want to go outside? Yes. Okay. Sometimes we want to go outside, but then we see this stop sign and it reminds us we may not open the door without asking your mom. So identifying the skill that’s required for them to do the thing that you want them to do or not do the thing that you want them to not do. So those are the things that I think will give you a better summer that will help you keep your cool, learning how to calm down, bringing the Lord in and being a much better planner than you are right now. And even for you hyper planners, I’m telling you, if you’re planning from fear, pridefulness, or fantasy land, they’re not going to be great plans.
We want to plan from peace with the Lord and really have realistic plans about how life goes. And you know what? Sometimes I’ll just tell you. Sometimes I know I’m going to do something and they’re still just going to be crying and fussing and I’m willing to do it anyway. So it’s not like I plan my way into perfect events, but now I know how to calm myself down when someone’s crying because they wanted to sit in the middle seat and not the backpack. And so that is possible. Having a summer where you keep your cool and you don’t scream at them all the time is really, really possible. I have six kids and I do not yell at them all the time and I probably for sure did five years ago and I just don’t know. It really is possible to stay calm, to breathe and to regulate yourself and then you’re modeling that for them and we can have a lot more fun.
All of that sounds really interesting to you. I want you to come join me for the Keep Your Cool workshop. It’s June 27, 28th. 29th. We didn’t want to do it too early because we wanted you to get some summer under your belt so that then you would be better at listening to these things and making better plans. Like if we do this at day zero of summer, we’re still just like stars in our eyes and super optimistic by the end of June, we’re like, oh, there’s a lot of popsicles, there’s a lot of sticky fingers, there’s a lot of wet towels everywhere. So June 2720 and 29th, it’s an hour each day. Okay, so it’s short, but I’m going to pack a ton into those 3 hours.
Yes, we will record them. It’s $37 to come join this. And I want you to think about this like mom school. I design my things to be like a college course where you come and you learn so much and then you get to keep that knowledge forever and you get to keep the videos forever. And then I also designed this really powerful workbook which walks you through all of those tools that I’ve mentioned, protocols, leverage, plans. I have a page for making food plans for the summer, which is fantastic, but then I have a daily page. It’s this daily plan that you’re going to make for each day, or you’re going to either do it the night before or do it the morning of and you’re just going to answer some simple questions that are going to set you up for success for the day. And I think that’s going to make a huge difference for your summer.
So go to madeforgreatness.co there will be a big banner at the top that says keep your cool. Register for that. If you’re already part of Masters, this is included for you for free and you will just get an email to come. But I really am on a mission to help moms enjoy summer. I want you to enjoy your summer and you enjoying your summer is going to increase how much your kids enjoy your summer. I promise. So come join us for the Keep Your Cool workshop starts June 27. It’s going to be a really fun time.
Thank you for listening to this podcast, you guys. I love you. I’m wishing us all peace. You’re a better mom than you think. And remember, you were Made for Greatness. Bye.