5 Simple Steps Guaranteed To Allow You To Spend More Time With Your Children This Summer

Look around: Your kids are counting sleeps until the last day of school, the local outdoor swimming pool is open, and the temperature has sky-rocketed. Summer is here! Are you still stuck in your winter routine? The one filled with rushing around to after school programs, play dates and endless birthday parties. Do you still feel the pressure of hurrying your kids to catch the school bus and rushing out after them to deliver the lunch that little Amanda forgot on the table? Summer is here! Time to relax!

Summertime is a time to relax some of our daily routines, allowing more flexibility into our lives. The holidays are often a time where we anticipate lots of wonderful family time together to create and share experiences that are timeless. Yet many parents dread some of the practical challenges of getting through the summer. Many people can't afford to totally disengage from the routine of work and adult commitments to spend as much time with their children as they would like. Don't get caught up in the "all or nothing" mindset - even small changes in your daily schedule can go a long way to helping your child feel like the priority in your day.

Creating more time in a busy adult life is easier if you follow these five simple steps:

1. Identify the barriers blocking flexibility in your schedule. Look for areas in your schedule that can be traded off for more time with your children.

2. Address each issue identified above and rate as flexible or inflexible. For example, a weekly team meeting would rank as an inflexible activity whereas an hour at the gym after dinner would rank as flexible.

3. Engage your child in the planning of shared time. Make sure the time you spend together is valuable. Plan activities that you both will enjoy and that allow for parent / child interactions.

4. Be Mindful. Remember, you can't be everything to everybody. Sometimes your commitments as an adult conflict with your commitments as a parent. When conflicts arise, talk to your children to explain the situation and let them know how you feel.

5. Respect. Everyone needs time alone. Remember to respect your and your child's need for "me" time

Let's look at an example:

Julie is a busy solo-entrepreneur running a web design business from home. She has an eleven year-old daughter, Sierra, who is days away from the start of her summer vacation. Julie has signed Sierra up for summer day camps but she also wants to spend more time with her this summer.

She looks at her schedule. Mondays are usually set aside to start new projects or meet with prospects. Tuesdays and Thursdays she goes out to a yoga class after dinner. Wednesday are usually pretty light, with mornings set aside for medical appointments or grocery shopping. Thursdays vary - some weeks busy, others are dedicated to business planning and strategizing for her own business. Fridays are traditionally project end and launch days.

Julie looks for holes in her schedule and finds that some activities can be combined with time with her child. Sierra loves dancing so Julie trades her yoga classes for ballet lessons with Sierra. As she has a fair bit of flexibility with her Wednesday and Thursday schedules, Julie decides to shorten her work week for two months of the year to free up Fridays to spend time with Sierra. From June 30th to September 1st, Thursday is the project end date. She contacts another freelance web designer to arrange for emergency coverage on Fridays. Julie's clients are notified of the summer hours and of the additional coverage available on Fridays should any emergencies arise.

Mother and daughter sit down and start planning activities for their first long weekend and decide on a trip to the water park. Now mom and daughter are both counting sleeps to the weekend!

Remember: It doesn't take much effort to make small changes in your routine to allow more time with your children. The time that you spend (or don't spend) with your child has lasting effects on their self-esteem and self-worth. Though it may at times be challenging to affect lasting change, it's worth the effort! After all, these are the days that create lasting memories.

Dr. Charles Sophy currently serves as Medical Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of nearly 40,000 foster children. He also has a private psychiatry practice in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Sophy has lectured extensively and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California Los Angeles Neuro-Psychiatric Institute. His lectures and teachings are consistently ranked as among the best by those in attendance.

Dr. Charles Sophy, author of the "Keep 'Em Off My Couch" blog, provides real simple answers for solving life's biggest problems. He specializes in improving the mental health of children. To contact Dr. Sophy, visit his blog at http://drsophy.com.

In The News:

Real time parenting  Bangalore Mirror
The Parenting Role in a Teacher  The Patriot On Sunday
Parenting During the Pandemic  News from Tulane
Pet of the Week: June 3, 2020  Kankakee Daily Journal
Conscious Parenting  Citizen Times

6 Signs You?re A High Maintenance Parent

The children of Baby Boomers, the Echo Generation, are entering... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: How to Say NO!

Q: Whenever we tell my daughter "no," she just bugs... Read More

What To Do With A 6 Year Old Smart Mouth Know It All

Just the other day, I was talking to some other... Read More

How Illiteracy Can Ruin Your Childs Life

It may seem obvious to many people why literacy is... Read More

My Sweet Little Valentine

Valentine day has always been a special day in my... Read More

The Three Best Alternative Treatments for ADHD

There are a LOT of alternative treatments for sale out... Read More

How To Foster An Environment For Successful Communications With Your Child

As parents, we strive to address all of the questions... Read More

Im a Father, Doesnt Anyone Care?

The snow was getting heavier with each lift of the... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: 6 Things to Stop Doing Right Away

1. STOP focusing on what you are going to make... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: Late vs. Too Late, and 5 More Sure Fire Tips

Late vs. Too LateEvery now and then, I'll hear a... Read More

14 Romantic Time-Outs for Parents

Here are fourteen spontaneous time-outs, specially designed to help you... Read More

Parental Involvement in Learning

Whether children attend public or private schools, they benefit when... Read More

6 Tried & True Fun Ways to Educate and Entertain Your Preschooler

1. New Word of the DayIntroduce your preschooler to a... Read More

How to Stop Divorce Parental Conflict from Bursting?

It is not the divorce but the conflict arising after... Read More

Alias: Aptitude

Be aware. You may become totally overwhelmed when you get... Read More

Assertiveness: Key to Better Parenting

I have always been aware of my number one weakness:... Read More

Home And School Education - Your Kids Can Benefit From Both!

Once, as a Learning Support Teacher, I made my way... Read More

Toxic Chemicals, Are Your Children Being Exposed?

You do what you can to keep your little ones... Read More

The Old and the New

During one "generation gap" quarrel with his parents young Michael... Read More

Create a Story Book with Your Child

A fun way to build your child's imaginationWriting is still... Read More

Books Around the House Make A Difference in Literacy Rates

We need a grass roots campaign targeted towards parents to... Read More

For School Success, Dont Coddle Your Kids

Parents want their children to succeed in school. However, sometimes... Read More

School Issues: When Should an ADHD Child Be Held Back In School?

This can be a very complicated issue, so I don't... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: Driving and Having a Car is a Privilege, Not a Right

Q. My teenage son is turning 16 early next year... Read More

Study Skills - Help Young People Study Smarter, Not Harder

Many young people don't know how to study efficiently and... Read More