Embracing the Sunny Side of Parenting: Effective Strategies for Summer Behaviour Management

Enjoy an amazing summer with your family with these positive discipline tips, backed by positive psychology. Set expectations, connect, empower, reinforce, take self-care breaks, embrace flexibility, and celebrate progress. You've got this!

Zeena Hicks

7/26/20234 min read


As the summer sun shines down upon us, it's time to gear up for some exciting family adventures and create memories that will last a lifetime. Right? Hmmm, well, let’s just be real for a moment, sometimes, even the sunniest days can have their fair share of challenges when it comes to managing our little ones' behaviour. So, this week’s blog post is dedicated to sharing some positive discipline strategies that will help you navigate those occasional stormy moments and make this summer truly amazing for the whole family. So, grab your shades, reach for your sun lotion, and let's dive in!

Set Clear Expectations: It's like packing for a beach trip—you want to make sure you have everything you need. Similarly, setting clear expectations with your children is crucial. Sit down together and discuss the rules and boundaries for summer activities. Keep it positive and engaging. For example, explain how we can all have more fun when we share, take turns, and treat each other with kindness. By highlighting the positive outcomes, you inspire your little ones to embrace those rules with enthusiasm and joy. For older kids, try and understand their expectations. What do they want to do? Get them involved in the planning, so they feel this is their holiday as much as yours.

Connect and Communicate: Just like building a sandcastle, building a strong connection with your child requires time and effort. Schedule in one on one time with each child (one parent - one child). This cannot be over-emphasised. Busy lives often prevent us from having quality time with our children. While family time is great, it doesn’t compare with the undivided attention of a parent. Take time to have heart-to-heart, meaningful conversations. Be curious, ask open-ended questions, and actively listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings. When children feel heard and understood, they're more likely to not only cooperate and follow instructions, but you are enabling them to flourish, fostering positive communication and strengthening your bond. Plus, it's a great opportunity to learn more about their world and discover shared interests (or opposing interests)!

The Power of Choices: Remember those endless options at the ice cream shop – vanilla, chocolate or strawberry? Choices empower us all, big and small. Positive psychology highlights the importance of autonomy, allowing individuals to feel a sense of control over their own lives. By giving your child choices, you honour their autonomy and encourage their personal growth. Instead of saying, "You will like this," and assuming you know what they want, ask questions and always limit choice to two options. Help them understand how to process choice, with options like, "Would you like to go to the pool with family or play with friends in the garden?" This sense of empowerment fosters intrinsic motivation and a positive mindset, helping your child develop decision-making skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Redirect and Reinforce: Just like a lifeguard guiding swimmers away from dangerous currents, redirecting your child's behaviour can work wonders. When you notice them heading down a not-so-great path, offer an alternative activity or suggest positive behaviour. And remember to reinforce the good stuff! Notice the great things about your child, such as the kind way they spoke to another person, or how you appreciate their humour. Positive reinforcement, such as acknowledging their efforts, celebrating their wins, and letting them know how proud you are of their growth, expressing genuine pride, helps to strengthen their self-esteem, motivation, and confidence. These small wins go a long way in shaping their behaviour.

Take a Time-Out (For You!): You know those palm trees swaying in the breeze? They're a gentle reminder that parents need a break too. Positive psychology stresses the importance of self-care and self-compassion. When things start to feel like a sandstorm, take a moment for yourself. Engage in activities that bring you joy and recharge your batteries, such as a swaying hammock, a bubble bath, or your sneaky ice cream stash—and take a breather. In the same way that you look after yourself first on a plane if the oxygen masks release, it is key that you prioritise your wellbeing, especially if you care for others. You also become a positive role model for your children, teaching them the importance of self-care and demonstrating how to create a harmonious and balanced life.

Embrace Flexibility: Summer is all about going with the flow, right? Be flexible and open-minded when it comes to your plans. Positive psychology encourages a growth mindset—an attitude that sees challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. Unexpected rain? No problem! Whip out the board games, create an indoor picnic, or have a dance party in the living room. Embracing spontaneity not only brings joy to your family but also teaches your children how to adapt to different situations with a positive attitude.

Celebrate Progress: Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and despite its greatness, it has many flaws. Positive psychology encourages a focus on strengths and progress. Celebrate each small step your child takes in the right direction, even if it's less than perfect and just a sprinkle of progress. The more you acknowledge their efforts, the more motivated they'll be to continue making positive choices. Practising gratitude by expressing appreciation for their growth not only boosts their self-esteem but also cultivates a positive and optimistic outlook on life.


Applying positive discipline strategies infused with the principles of positive psychology is a powerful combination that will not only help manage behaviour, but also foster a strong bond between you and your little ones.

Remember, the summer is not just about building sandcastles or splashing in the waves—it's about building memories, fostering growth, and instilling lifelong values. By setting clear expectations, connecting, and communicating with your child, empowering them with choices, redirecting and reinforcing positive behaviours, taking time for your own self-care, embracing flexibility, and celebrating progress, you are creating a foundation for a lifetime of resilience, happiness, and fulfilment.

Through the lens of positive psychology, you have the tools to cultivate a positive mindset, nurture your child's strengths, and create an atmosphere of love, understanding, and growth. As you embark on this summer adventure, embrace each day with optimism, knowing that even the smallest moments can have the most significant impact on your child's development and well-being.

So, let's seize the sunny days ahead, cherishing the laughter, the learning, and the love that will fill our lives. As you bask in the warmth of the summer sun, may you find joy in the small victories, cherish the precious connections you foster, and create memories that will light up your hearts for years to come. You've got this!