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Keeping Up Discipline In The Summer

Summer can be a tricky time for discipline in your home.  The sun is up so much later, school is out, activities and lazy days fill the family schedule.  Kids ears tend to be turned way down to parents’ directions.  Maybe when you have a looser schedule, a really tight set of rules doesn’t seem appropriate; but you don’t need to be a doormat by July either.

I know my kids can do a pretty decent job of keeping themselves busy when they are really into something.  But other times they struggle with boredom and bickering takes over.  Getting the bedtime routine back in order has been a big chore as well.

Sensing that I was getting run over in my own home, I’ve made a much stronger point of telling them to follow directions without me repeating myself ten times.

When I give them consequences consistently for not paying attention, things seem to tighten up in fairly short order. I make sure they understand their ability to have their free time intact depends on their ability to respect the boundaries I set and listening up when I give directions.  When I get lazy, they take advantage and run me over.  They’re not being bad kids, they are just doing what I let them do.

Here’s a quick-tip list for you to keep the kids tuned into you this summer:

– Allow for plenty of free time this summer.  It’s appropriate for expectations to be somewhat looser than school time.

– Use this as an opportunity for them to learn personal responsibility.  They get the free time because they follow your directions quickly and without repetition.

– Have consequences ready and review them occasionally when things are calm and going well.

– Give your consequences when necessary and stick with them.  Make them strong enough for them to get the point and reasonable enough for you to enforce completely.

Fortunately, kids who do fairly well through the school year can learn to adjust to your boundaries for the summer.  No, they may not like it, but if they see you as a true authority figure, you can make it work.  Summer can still be free-flowing with some confidence that your authority will remain intact.

Readers, share your ideas.  How have you kept the balance between the freedoms of summer and the boundaries you set as a parent?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Kalani Chase

Keeping Up Discipline In The Summer

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2010). Keeping Up Discipline In The Summer. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Jun 2010
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