The Most Counterintuitive Piece of Parenting Advice You’ll Ever Receive

Not looking forward to your kids’ summer vacation? Read on. This simple advice just may surprise you.

How to handle your kids over the summer

As summer break begins or quickly approaches, it’s quite common to hear parents stressed out over this additional time with their kids. Not being acclimated to having their kids home all day, summertime and other school breaks can often be a great source of anxiety for people who just aren’t used to having their kids around all the time. 

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Unless you happen to be a homeschooling family, you’re simply used to having the kids gone for a good portion of each weekday between school, after-school programs, and extracurricular activities. So today I’m going to share some advice about how to handle being around your kids all day. Now be forewarned- it may just be the most counterintuitive parenting advice you’ve ever heard, but hear me out on this.

Are you ready?? Here goes…

The best way to learn how to tolerate having your kids around all the time is to spend MORE time with them.

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Surprised? I don’t blame you. The first time I ever heard that advice I thought the person was out of her mind.

Spend MORE time with them?? Ridiculous, right?


I used to think so…until I actually did it.

Here’s the thing. I haven’t always been a homeschooler. We’ve only been homeschooling for going on nine years, and my oldest is 23, so you know I’ve spent quite a bit of time as a public school mom.

Having had experience on both ends- kids gone most of the day vs. kids home most of the day, I’m going to tell you that the most tried and true methods used by parents every summer to “keep their kids busy” (aka- out of their hair) is probably not going to help the situation.

The problem is that we think we’re solving the situation when we sign our kids up for every program known to man over the summer, but, in fact, it will only help to perpetuate the issue at hand, which is this:

You will never learn how to handle being around your kids if you’re never with them.

Think about it. When we buy a pair of shoes, we walk around in them all the time so that we get used to them.

When our kids try a new food or a new activity that they don’t particularly enjoy, we, as parents, encourage them to continue eating said item or attending said activity in the hopes that they’ll get used to it.

In fact, how often has your child come up to you with something they were stressed out over, only for you to say, “Oh, you’ll get used to it”?

Why don’t we take our own advice? Instead of tackling this particular issue head on, we run. We fill up our kids’ schedules until they’re bursting, instead of allowing ourselves to get used to being around them.

And, yeah, it may seem easier that way. After all, summer break only lasts a couple of months, right?

But don’t you want more for your kids? Don’t you think that both you and your kids will benefit from a little- or a lot- more time together?

Isn’t it at least worth a shot? As much as I fought the idea at first, I know I did.

And I will never regret it.




Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

15 thoughts on “The Most Counterintuitive Piece of Parenting Advice You’ll Ever Receive”

  1. We are a blended family. My wife is a stay at home mom. I cringe at the thought of keeping 6 children occupied. My wife is doing a fabulous job. I could not help but think of how God has gifted ladies in ways I don’t think He has gifted men. This is totally a side note. Nevertheless, my wife is teaching me the importance of being “with” the kids. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think most of us, as parents in the ‘developed’ world, have an unconsciously-skewed paradigm against family and children. I do see the devil’s fingerprints all over that one! To the Comeback Pastor: If you think you need to be keeping your children occupied, then think again: you’re shooting yourself in the foot with that way of thinking. You’re their dad, which is a significant relationship — as opposed to an Entertainments Director, which is merely a job…. Your wife is right: you need to just be with, get to know, and value and enjoy your kids! Our ancestors managed perfectly well before the modern age with all its entertainments (which in many cases are time-wasters and relationship-damagers), so we can learn a lot from their approach to parenting: moms and dads are supposed to be role models, teachers, mentors, coaches, and friends of their children. A few years ago, I heard a chap called Ian Grant speak on parenthood, and he said, “As a dad, I don’t see myself as ‘the expert’; I’m just a beggar who can tell younger, less-experienced beggars (i.e. my kids) where to find bread.” I really like that mental picture. Here endeth the lesson. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful post. Excellent advice. We all lean toward our normal i.e. comfortable, even in our time with our children. As a homeschooling mom, when my children were young if I was away from them for too many hours I would begin to feel uncomfortable and want to get back to my normal and be with them. The same seems to be true for parents who spend most of their time apart from their children in the feeling of discomfot after many hours together. They want to return to their normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is so true though. I try to explain to people that even my kids get along better with each other as they spend more time together (granted they need some breaks here and there; but not everyday!).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My sister and I went through public school all the way. My mom was always just as eager as us for school breaks so we could all be home. We were never signed up for more than one activity at a time to allow lots of time to be together. I’m so thankful for the example my mom set for me. She’s also my biggest supporter and cheerleader when it comes to homeschooling my own children.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree.

    One of the best Summers we had was when my oldest son was grounded from video games all Summer. I couldn’t use the computer as a crutch so we had to find things to do together. We read books, went to the park, and made smoothies. He invented some pretty killer smoothies.

    I feel like the simpler we made our schedule the more quality time we had. It wasn’t easy at first but it was totally worth it. Thank you for the blog post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Honestly, I understand a little of what non-homeschool moms are going through. Before we started year-round school, I would go crazy with the “bored” comments and the constant bickering. There may be something to kids getting to know each other a little better. When they are constantly separated through traditional school they have a hard time relating to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

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