Summer is typically a time we look forward to. Things tend to slow down; we schedule more time with our family; and make a conscious decision to focus on being “in the moment.” Now that summer is quickly coming to an end, it’s natural for us to begin to look ahead to the busy new school year. Back-to-school shopping, enrollment in extra-curricular activities, PTA meetings, and the fall holidays—just to name a few— have us getting our calendars ready, organizing carpooling, and making any advanced arrangements we possibly can. And suddenly, the serenity of summer seems like a distant memory.
Parents today are overworked, overwhelmed and overstressed—and our children can feel it. Being “Super-Mom” or “Super-Dad” is an unattainable goal that society has pressured us into thinking is possible. Being the breadwinner, chef, laundress, housekeeper, referee, chauffeur, tutor, coach, and disciplinarian can leave us feeling rundown, defeated and exhausted; leaving us to want to just “survive” the day. However, what if we could take some of those relaxed, close family moments we’ve experienced in the summer months with us into September… so that we can not only survive but also thrive?
You can do just that by setting two or three “summer goals” for both you and your family to “be in the moment” as you prepare for the upcoming school year. For you, this could mean… sitting down to eat dinner every night as a family, skipping one after-school activity or sport to allow for more down-time for you and your family, or making sure you’re home to tuck your children into bed or read them a story every night. You want to choose goals that help you focus on the moment and foster a tighter bond between you and your family members. Another suggestion would be to sit down with your family to define each person’s vision for the upcoming school year. Do your kids want to join an activity or drop one? Do they want more time with you? If so, when would they like to have that time with you; and when are you available to do so? Setting expectations with your family members is important. For those parents who work, we can’t always accommodate our family’s desires; but we can get a better understanding of what would be an acceptable compromise. To do so, it’s important to discuss the steps you each need to take to get there.
It’s important to remember that these “summer goals” aren’t meant to add more to your plate; they are to help you focus on what is most important for you and your family this year. Try to remember that though it’s important to care for your child’s every need, it’s just as important that you care for yourself and your needs. Part of self-care is learning how to say “no” to overbooking and overextending yourself and your family.
The simple fact is that our children thrive when they are around healthy and happy versions of ourselves. They observe how we speak, how we treat others, and most importantly; how we cope with life. Children will take all of this into their adulthood. You can allow for the natural downshift of summer to be the guide for focusing on quality and not quantity during this busy school year.
At The Hellenic Therapy Center at (908) 322-0112, we have a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours. We treat children, teenagers, adults, families and couples. We are located at 567 Park Avenue in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. You can find out more by visiting www.hellenictherapy.com or FB, or calling us at 908-322-0112.