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School is almost out which means lots of days home with the kids, family travels, and unscheduled time….Which is all great, but can test the very best parenting skills! Being a mom is both the most rewarding and most challenging job I have ever had! My 4 children are the most amazing gifts from God, but they test me in ways I never thought possible.  There are days I feel like a rock star parent and days when I feel like I fail miserably. Here are some tips to make parenting a more positive, happier experience….especially as we get ready for a summer filled with together time!

1. Give your kids your time and attention. 
As parents today, we are pulled in a million directions, over scheduled and always on our phones. My kids hate when I pick them up from school and I am on the phone or finishing an email. Yes, we are busy and they need to respect our time and what we do, but we need to respect their time too. Sometimes, they just want to talk and tell us about their day or make them feel like we are not too busy for them! 
2. Count to 10 before getting upset.
It is easy for me to fly off the handle. And then have terrible guilt and feel like I didn’t even make sense or at least make my point. So, try counting to 10. Give your self a minute to think about what you want to say, or the punishment or consequence your child deserves for their actions. You will feel much more in control and effective as a parent. 
3. Pick and chose your battles.
Sometimes things that seem important to us as parents are not really that big of a deal. I am always on my kids about manners, picking up their clothes off the floor, being kind to one another and others. All these things are super important to me, but I can easily sound like a constant nag if I am always on them about all these things. And it will go in one ear and out the other. Focus on making one point at a time. Tomorrow is always another day. 
4. Remember that children are works in progress. 
They are not meant to be perfect and it is our job to teach them. Does it matter if their hair is perfectly brushed and their clothes all match all the time?
Focus on things that are really important. Respect is number one on my list!
5. Treasure this time in your life and enjoy each day!
You know that county song “You’re Gonna Miss This” and the saying “The days are long and the years are short”. It’s all true. My babies and toddlers and now pre-teens and tweeners. And before I know it, they will be off to high school and college. Life is about the journey. Try to enjoy the stage you are in!
With a few small tips, and lots of deep breaths, you can be a happier, more effective parent and enjoy your summer and family time together!