Well…here we are just over 2- weeks into summer break with the kids. Up until the past 2 - days it has been rather glorious! Playing at the park, mini golfing, splash pads, play dates, camping, and heading out of town to visit friends; but then a couple days at home and the battles begin! “She took my hat”, “He has my sunglasses”, “I was sitting there - NO, you weren’t”, Oh. My. Goodness! I am confident that I am not the only parent managing these sibling rivalries at the moment.
It is funny how by May we are counting off the days with our children until school is out and summer break begins - we are all looking forward to the joy and excitement of the last day of school for summer holidays and the freedom to begin! No more waking early, set and scheduled bed times, homework, routines and thank goodness no more making packed lunches every day for the next 2-months! Bring on summer… and the rivalry that goes along with it.
It is completely normal for children to not get along every day with their siblings, to have bad days, and be annoyed by their family at times. This is part of our make up as human beings, to not be perfect, happy and get along every day. As adults we do the same with our partners, family, and even our children.
When we take the time to reflect on the 10 – months of the year that our children are in school they have a great deal of “family freedom” - they are at school for about 7 - hours each day, away from their siblings and parents, often involved in extra-curricular activities either at school or in the evenings, and more than likely not attending these activities with their siblings. Through the school year weekends can often be packed with all the kids in sports, attending events or multiple birthday parties. Then summer comes along and we (children and parents alike!) have this idea that it is going to be amazing to be home every day, together… with no real routine, no planned activities (with the exception of a summer camp or two), spending the next 60 - days vastly together! I do believe that as we become parents this is a part of our hope for summer. I do not recall as a child or teen thinking, “I can’t wait for summer to spend every day with my brother”, yes we did have great summers, a ton of fun, and made many great memories but we also spent time driving one another completely mad! In reflection this is no different to what I am experiencing with my own children and hearing from friends and their children. When I asked by oldest the question about his hopes and thoughts for summer break this is what he said: “I think about relaxing, no school, no homework, playing and watching lots of sports, and having a great time with my family. We always do lots of fun and cool activities together. Most of the time I like hanging out with my brother and sister”. WOW! I loved his answer and it really allowed me to reflect on the above quote in the photo; “While we try to teach our children all about life. Our children teach us what life is all about”.
I will encourage you to ask your children what they love most about summer and siblings! Have a wonderful time managing the battles!