When the school bell rings and we kick off summer, I breathe a sigh of relief. Sure, this was an unorthodox semester, but this year is no exception. No lunches to pack. No homework. Geeze, no homeSCHOOLING! Summer is just more laid back. But after the initial rest, we realize we can’t sleep all day every day and stay up late eating ice cream (challenge accepted, anyone?). So most parents slide into one of three summer parenting styles.
Which one of these 3 are you and what are the pros and cons to each? Should you try to switch it up this summer?
The Easy Living Parent
Heaven forbid your child leaves some uneaten lunch in his or her backpack on the last day of school because that thing isn’t getting opened ’til August! The Easy Living parent says summer is all about kicking back, relaxing, and turning off the brain to all things school-related.
The pros to this style of summer parenting are obvious. Your child will love sleeping in, having the freedom to play, and having no limit to the fun. If you have a kiddo who gets over-stressed at school, this kind of summer is just what he or she needs. The cons are also pretty obvious. The summer slump is very real and if your child is already stressed at school, losing some of the knowledge he or she worked so hard to gain will make for a tough August. And allowing for unlimited screen time is brutal on our kids’ waistlines.
The Get Ahead Gang Parent
“Here’s our chance to…” The Get Ahead Gang parenting style sees the summer as an opportunity to get ahead of the pack, or maybe for some, it’s to get back on track. It’s all about putting in the work and seeing success. When I was a kid, I went to summer school every summer. My mom always wanted us to be busy and learning. I might still be a little bitter.
The pros are that your children will head back to school comfortable with the materials for the new grade, and they’ll have an edge over their classmates. The con, whether you have an over-achiever or a kiddo who struggles to keep up, is that they need a break. Allowing for a less rigorous summer schedule shows kids that their achievements in school are not the most important thing and balance is important.
Allowing for a less rigorous summer schedule shows kids that their achievements in school are not the most important thing and balance is important.
The Learning-ish Parent
The Goldilocks of summer parenting style, the Learning-ish parent is just right. Maybe you start the day with an hour of work and then dedicate the rest to relaxing and fun activities. Some pick two weeks of the summer for learning camps and then leave the rest open.
The pros to this style are that the wheels in your kids’ brains keep turning and they discover outside-the-box ways to learn. You never know—your child who struggles in math might discover that baking makes the fraction light bulb go on! The cons? Well, there aren’t really any except that this takes effort and engagement on your part. Keep your eyes open to teaching moments and ask questions as you experience your summer days together.
Which kind of summer parent are you? Want a broader look at your parenting style? Take The Mom I Am quiz here.