Being a #Somom has improved my life.
I have come upon new opportunities in my writing and for my blog.
I have made new Momma friends who come from all different walks of life.
Every month, SoMoms enjoy the #BetterMe sessions with Coach Pia. We are given the opportunity to explore the decisions we make as moms, decisions for our families, and the decisions we make for ourselves. It’s probably my most favorite part of being a SoMom. It makes me actively evaluate and improve my life and my happiness factor.
Just the other day, we were discussing what the kids wanted to do for the summer at the dinner table. Our dinner table conversations are very important to me. It’s the time when I bring the kids together and we talk about one thing that made us really happy for the day (essentially “a high”) and one thing we could have done better ( ultimately “a low”) if given the chance to do it again. After we talked about our moments, the kids started discussing what they would like to do for the summer.
The usual trip to Marinduque during Holy Week was top on the list as a family activity, as well as my desire to steal away with Nino for a trip to either Sagada or Vigan so we can explore more of the Philippines together. But besides these plans, I usually try to enroll the kids in some activities for themselves.
In the past, I have enrolled all three kids in cooking classes together. What usually happens is the big kids end up reporting to me how the “little big kid” didn’t listen so well, didn’t follow instructions and was naughty. Based on that experience, I have now figured out that they all need to enroll in their own activities, separately.
Truth: I have never really given my kids a choice as to what they wanted to enroll in as a summer activity.
I would just look at what I thought they were interested in and then of course couple that with my own desire to further them as individuals. They like to eat. So therefore, all of them should know how to cook…right??? Besides, I can’t be expected to cook EVERY night for dinner can I? Ha ha ha ha ha.
(I have always wished that one of my kids would follow my love of soccer…er…football. Maybe Gellibean will be my last chance? Promise, Coach Pia-I won’t push her too hard!!! ha ha ha ha)
Kidding aside, the kids have all enrolled football, futsal, volleyball, swimming, track, taekwondo, art classes, music lessons and of course their cooking classes. I have always enrolled the kids in activities and then notified them AFTER they were already enrolled in an activity. THIS IS A BIG NO NO if you want your kids to value and enjoy their summer experiences and activities.
By using these 6 points that Coach Pia outlines for parents in making the kids’ (and your) summer more meaningful and productive you can save a whole lot of grief and aggravation.
1. Remember: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. This means that your child’s summer activities should NOT be everything YOU wanted to do as a child. Their summer is not a reaction to what you did or did not have as a child.
2. Do NOT enroll your child in an activity and then notify him afterwards. (I always did it this way before!)
3. Remember: Summer Activities are a guide for EXPLORING their talents. The best guide for considering this is keeping the sessions that you enroll your child in at a maximum of 4 sessions. You can always add sessions if your child enjoys the activity.
4. Let your children choose activities from general categories:
- Art/Creativity Classes
5. Involve your children in the choice of activities, have a discussion about what they would like to enroll in and why. Engage them in the process and the decision making to ensure there will be a positive experience, even if it is an activity that they choose not to enroll in again.
6. Guide your child to look back, learn from the experiences and move forward with the self knowledge. Asking leading questions about their activities and their experiences, but REMEMBER: Self discover is SELF DISCOVERY…it’s their process that they have to go through and experience. Teach them to be mindful about their experiences and what they learned not just in the activities but also what they learned about themselves.
Aside from enrolling your children in meaningful activities, I’m sure that as a parent you want to Develop Better Family Habits this Summer in general. We have habits that we foster in our household every day, but I hadn’t considered focusing on any specific family habits during the summer so this part of our session was good food for thought.
In providing meaningful family habits for your children and your family one thing must ring true. YOU MUST NOT DOUBT YOURSELF. You know what’s good for your kids AND what’s good for your family. When you decide on what you would like to incorporate into your family’s routine take these steps to make it happen.
To make it easier on yourself, Coach Pia suggests that you should map out your year quarterly. Sometimes we might feel overwhelmed with all of the activities and family events we need to attend to. Did you ever take note of where your busiest time of year is as a family?
Use these pie graphs to map out special events, occasions and other important celebrations or anniversaries to help determine what part of the year is most stressful for you. After you have evaluated where you can simplify, stress over summer activities will certainly be minimized.
Decide on what kind of “Family Habits” you would like to foster this summer. Do you want your activities to be outdoors? Do you want to have a family game night where you dust off the board games and sit around the table? Would you like to spend more time bike riding with your children this summer? Or would you like the children to become more active in preparing healthy meals together? Ideally, these activities should take place at least once a week. The activities should be recreational, AND when you are committed to this activity you should be sure to work on your listening skills all through out. In other words, DO NOT TALK DURING THESE ACTIVITIES. GATHER DATA. LISTEN. BE QUIET.
Really listen to your kids during these times. This will be an opportunity for them to share lots of things with you, especially when it is in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
You have heard of that time to “Date your child?” Well, make sure that aside from your family activities to take your kids out one on one. Make each one on one activity unique to the child you are dating, make it conducive for talking…but try to listen more and let your kid do the talking.
After all of these activities that you are have scheduled are finished…EVALUATE. Evaluate the time that you all spent together, ask the kids what they would want to change in the routine and when you ask-be sure you are OPEN to the changes that they suggest.
LASTLY, remember to take the time and energy you need not just for your family, but also for yourself. Be kind. If you can’t do it all, that’s ok too. Don’t judge. We are our own worst critics. Take it easy. It’s summer time after all….