I have a love/hate relationship with the school year ending ushering in the summer months. On the one hand, I enjoy the routine that the school week provides the family. Life is predictable and structured, which creates an even flow for my energy. On the other hand, I love that summer allows for more enjoyable time spent that does not involve homework, science fair projects or the selling of candles as a fundraiser. The morning routine eases during the summer and I don’t grow tired of hearing myself say “do your home work, eat dinner, shower time, let’s go let’s go.” Ahh, but this can feel like a double-edged sword, free time can create bored children. Bored children need parents to direct their attention and focus their energy so they don’t slowly evolve into puddles of mush after a 13 hour Sponge bob marathon. Parents can find themselves low on energy, as they are now entirely responsible for the planning and sequencing of events in their children’s lives during the summer months. So how do parents safeguard their energy stores during the summer? It depends on his or her personality.
As it turns out a part of our personality defines how we are energized. According the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, for the Extraverted parent, energy comes from interacting with the world. Extraverts are energized by being out and about, interacting with other people and exposing their children to the outside world. On the other hand, Introverted parents acquire their energy from turning inward, taking a step back from the hustle and bustle that is synonymous with parenting, and spending some time alone with their thoughts, reading or journaling.
Knowing where your energy comes from can afford you the opportunity to plan for how to best manage your energy levels. The Extraverted parent may begin to feel their energy is zapped if they spend too many days at home. Despite the heat, Extraverted parents need to plan for activities away from home that will allow them to connect with and interact with the outside world. The Introverted parent may find himself or herself struggling to keep pace with their active children during the summer months. Building in some quiet time during the day for both the kids and parents can give the Introverted parent the opportunity to re-energize.
Because we do our best parenting when we are feeling energetic, understanding where we get our energy and taking care of our needs will allow us to be better parents for our children. Being energized during the summer months makes for a better time had by all!