Woo hoo! School’s out and your children couldn’t be more excited. No more waking up early, no more homework, and all bets are off for routines and structure because it’s time for summer vacation. Children will stop looking to their teacher’s for answers to their millions of questions and to keep them engaged constantly and now will look only to you. With questions like “what are we doing today mom” or “what’s next” and the dreaded statement “I’m bored.” What is a parent to do? Well fear not, here are three simple ways to enjoy summer with your family.
Quality over Quantity
As parents, we want to offer as many exciting experiences and happy memories as we can to our children. However, the modeling of contentment and the ability to be present in the moments happening in front of us is a lesson that will carry your child throughout their lifetime. No one says the greatest moments have to be big or flashy but can be intentional time spent together doing simple things with your family twist to it. Movies on the couch can sound boring, until you add an hour of family snack making time with cool new recipes. How much fun it will be to laugh while drizzling chocolate on some fun creation before snuggling on the couch to watch a great movie together. Simple things can become extraordinary when we are present in those moments and grateful we have them.
All hands on deck
Quality time is vital to family connection and making memories with special outings is a value as well. If your family budget allows for a family trip to Disney World or beyond, that is fantastic. If it doesn’t, you and your family will create local fun with some intentionality. Teachers are so successful at keeping kids engaged because they are given planning periods every day to think of the method to the madness for the day. To make the kids apart of the planning, set guidelines and invite them to make a list of top 3 to 5 things they want to experience this summer. You can break that down into categories such as food, activity at home, local activity center and short trip. The next step is to all create a big Family Fun poster board and plot out when you can go do your family adventures. This will reduce the questions of what are we doing today and when are we going to go to this place because it’s already mapped out and visual to everyone.
Teach them something new
When reminiscing on childhood, we often remember big adventures and quality time but how wonderful is to be able to attribute a skill you learned from family members. Crafting a family story, how a skill or tradition is important to your family then taking the time to pass it on is invaluable and allows children to feel really connected to their clan. Alternatively, if your family didn’t provide you with those moments, what a great time to create that for your children. Pick a project that you can work on for an extended period of time and come back to it over the weeks of summer. If no ideas come to mind for a bigger project, it can be a family recipe you work on perfecting or making it your own. Your kids will feel accomplished and you can welcome them into the fold of the family.
Summer break is a great opportunity to enjoy family moments and shared experiences that bring us closer together. It’s a nice time to slow down a bit and be intentional about the interactions you have with your family. Have an awesome summer 2018!
Glynita Bell is the Owner & Clinical Director of Heart 2 Heart Wellness Center in New Albany, IN and an
Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Spalding University.