Oh, how I love summer. Well, I used to love summer. I enjoy(ed) coasting through the days without a schedule, sleeping in(lol-well, at least sleeping past 6:30), and going where-ever the day takes me. Unfortunately for a person with anxiety, the lack of a schedule and an irregular plan is far from enjoyable.
Every summer, I remember the importance of rhythm. My children thrive on a rhythm. They need it. Without a rhythm, they are lost. I, on the other hand, like to live life without a plan and as the day takes me. Do you see the problem here? The two ways do not mesh AT ALL and the result is stress, frustration, melt downs and all over unhappiness. You would think that by now, I would have figured this out. However, I haven’t. Every summer we experience the above-stress, frustration, melt downs and overall unhappiness-mainly with only one child but the frustration takes over the entire family.
So we head back to the schedule and the rhythm. I am still trying to figure out how to set a schedule and a rhythm for the summer but I will figure one out soon. You would think that since we are together all the time during the school year that the summer would go smoothly. Unfortunately, everyone’s schedule changes. There are no classes in the summer-only camps. Horseback riding is sporadic due to camps and vacations. The gym schedule changes. And there are kids to play with who are not around during the school year to play with. Sounds like fun to me, but the changes bring increased anxiety and stress to my youngest. He tries so hard to take control of his day but he needs a plan and a back up plan. Until he can do this for himself, I must help with the plan by providing a rhythm.
Are you able to relax during the summer or are do you need to keep a rhythm?
My youngest child is drawn to animals. He is the epitome of an animal lover. Thus, I was not surprised when he wanted to go horseback riding at a young age. When he turned 6, he used his birthday money to go to the barn at a local park and ride a horse. He was a little guy-not only because he was six, but he was a small 6 year old. He strode right into the barn and requested to ride Tonka-a draft horse, the largest horse in the barn. Unfortunately, Tonka does not fair well in the arena so Tonka was not an option. However, the lady at the barn offered Parks another option-Belle, another draft horse.
Parks on Belle
Belle in the arena
Parks on Belle
He cherished every minute with Belle. This experienced sparked something inside him. We then found a barn that would allow him to ride and take informal lessons. He did well until he didn’t. There came a time when he just continuously became frustrated at riding. It was too soon.
For his eighth birthday, Parks asked if he could attempt riding again. I took a new approach this time. I agreed to set up lessons if he would agree to work on confidence, self control and impulse control when with the horses. He agreed and off we went. He started in the little arena with a lovely horse. He rode confidently. He is now only five weeks into his lessons and each week he amazes me. When we arrive at the barn, he is able to get his horse from the pasture, brush him, saddle him and ride with minimal assistance.
He is learning about how to communicate without using words. He is learning the importance of “willing” the horse to trot and to work with him. He remains calm around the horses. He is gentle and caring. He knows that he and the horse must trust each other. I am not sure why my youngest felt the need for horses in his life, but I am forever grateful. The horses can teach him things that I have not been able to in a way that works for him.