Summer Musings: Thriving Alone and Together At Home

Recently, since it’s summer vacation, my kids have been spending a lot of time with friends–often the same friends, several days in a row. The kids and I talked about how sometimes when we’re with someone for an extended period of time, we might start to feel irritated with them, and need some time apart. I certainly remember feeling that way during summer vacations when I was young.

This also led us to talk about how, when you share a home with people, you can’t always get away from them. So even if you like them most of the time, you might also find yourself feeling irritated with the people in your home. For parents and caregivers, this can be compounded by some things like: when you’re home you might also be trying to work, and your expectations and hopes for how the children and youth in your home spend their days might be different from their own ideas.

My children and I brainstormed some ideas to help us feel better together, and I found some links that go along with our ideas. We hope they help your family, too.

 

First, Take a Break

Sometimes just going into another room and taking a few deep breaths can help change your mood. Sometimes you need a nap. And sometimes you need some time alone to think, play, or work on a project. This goes for adults and children. When you model this for the children and youth in your home, you are teaching them that they can learn to notice how they are feeling and to seek what they need.

This article shares how you can teach your child to take Movement Breaks and Calming Breaks: https://hes-extraordinary.com/how-to-use-breaks-to-teach-self-regulation

Here’s a piece on how time playing alone increases a child’s creativity and independence: https://www.calgaryschild.com/parenting/all-ages/2437-how-time-spent-alone-can-foster-creativity-and-independence-among-children

Here you’ll learn about the value of mental health breaks for you as a parent or caregiver–and how your well-being benefits your family: https://www.care.com/c/mental-health-breaks-for-parents-are-nonnegotiable/

 

Use Humor

Watching funny videos or movies, alone or together, can be a great way to start feeling more at ease. So can telling or reading jokes–you can find joke books at the library or look up jokes for different age groups online. Also, trying to notice the humor in everyday situations can help you get through each day with grace.

According to the folks at Familius, “[L]aughter is restorative, it feels good, and it just plain soothes the soul. Plus, the more often we can lean into it, the more effectively we’ll be able to harness its power when the going gets tough.” Read more of their ideas here: https://www.familius.com/the-value-of-laughing-together/

 

Try Music

Sometimes what you really need is some time alone, listening to great music and daydreaming. And music can create a kind of buffer between ourselves and others while we work or do chores–experiment with what kind of music helps each of your family members to focus and/or tolerate situations they might struggle with.

You can use music in so many ways–you and the children in your home can find or invent wake-up songs, clean up songs, and so much more. You can also use household objects as instruments–pots and pans, baskets, hairbrushes, and so much more. Sharing your favorite music with one another can also be a very powerful way to connect with kids–you can each take turns playing a song or video, with the person who shares it talking about what they like about it.

Here are some powerful ways to connect with teens through music: https://yourteenmag.com/family-life/communication/connecting-through-music

This site offers ten ideas for connecting with younger kids through music: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-ways-connect-your-child-through-music-benattar-ma-mt-bc-lcat/

 

What else helps you and your family thrive alone and together at home?

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