Summertime can be a great opportunity to connect with your children. However, while your life keeps marching on schedule with work and other responsibilities, a big chunk of their schedule has ended providing them with lots of time on their hands. The built-in community that your child had at school will be disrupted as friends and siblings may be away at camp or on vacation during in the months of July and August.
In this day and age of technology, you may find your child or young adult in front of their laptop or the television for longer stretches than usual. If you are in the midst of divorce and have a lot on your plate, it may be even more frustrating than usual to hear your kid say, “I’m bored.” Having a game plan for the summer can help to minimize those moments when they just can’t seem to make it through the day with their own imagination and could use some of yours. Taking time to PLAY can make a difference.
Takeaway Tip #1: Planning takes preparation. Local newspapers, community blogs, the public library, and other sources have a lot of resources and interesting activities for children. Take some time to review this information. Create a calendar for July and August online or on paper that everyone can see, so that when they mention that they are bored, you can direct them to the calendar to review “coming attractions.” It will also help when a child has to go back and forth between their parents to know what they can look forward to in both their homes.
Takeaway Tip #2: Listen for the opportunity to spent time together. Sometimes an “I’m bored” can mean “I want you to spend time with me.” Sometimes your child will not tell you that they are having stressful thoughts or they are anxious. They will not tell you that they have missed you while you were away at work. Offer to watch their favorite show together or read a book together. If you are working, plan evening walks in a park with your child, or try grocery shopping and cooking dinner together. The time you spend together can make all the difference in calming their anxiety, by letting them know that they matter.
Takeaway Tip #3: Activate their creativity. Arts and crafts projects that require multiple steps for completion are always a good way to stimulate a child’s imagination. Encourage them to write and perform a play, or encourage them to compose a song that they can perform solo or with other family members. Technology is also your friend. Create a film or family podcast: 1) have your child or young adult select a topic that they care about, 2) conduct some (age appropriate) research, 3) set up a “recording studio” at home on your computer, and 4) interview your child or pretend to be the interview subject. Giving them a platform to teach you about the things they are passionate about will help to build self-esteem and increase self-direction when they are in charge of their projects.
Takeaway Tip #4: You don’t have to spend money to have a good time. Stay on the lookout for things that you can do at home or nearby. Sometimes the expenses for eating out, mini golf, and other activities can add up. If you are on a budget, try adding free activities children can assist you with, such as helping you clean out a closet, or painting a wall or piece of furniture. Other fun activities could include shopping for seeds and planting an indoor garden, or making a terrarium. Teaching your child how to fill a void or a feeling of lack with low cost and fun activities, or tapping into to their creativity from within, will give them something so valuable, the gift of self-reliance. This is a gift that can serve them for a lifetime.
If you are contemplating divorce, or struggling with a high-conflict divorce procedure, let Tamara Harris, CEO of Tamara Harris LLC, be your partner as you navigate through each stage of your journey. As an impartial, experienced professional, Tamara will work directly with you to give you the best tools and strategies to manage the specific challenges and uncertainties of divorce. Serving as your Divorce Coach and advocate, she will help you see clearly during this time where emotions can often impede and derail your divorce procedure. While each member of your high-conflict divorce team – lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and other experts – will be advising you, Tamara will help you to synthesize this information, think strategically about the options you have with clarity and purpose, and get your divorce across the finish line. Visit tamaraharris.com for more information, or contact Tamara Harris to discuss becoming a client. All inquires will be held in confidence.