We all look forward to summer, the lazy days of summer. But are they really lazy or do we feel this compulsion to keep ourselves and our children busy at all times?
I am a big proponent of downtime for children. I think they need a break from their hectic school schedules. They need to sleep in and recharge their bodies. You know, growing is hard work for the body. It can't be go-go-go all the time. But they also need structure. Kids left to their own devices can have, ummm, unintended consequences, shall we say.
If you can afford it send your kids to summer camp. There are all kinds of camps. There's something for every kid. It gives them something to look forward to. And, hopefully, inspires them. Being away from home helps kids develop independence and self esteem. For your younger children how about a day camp close to home? That might avoid the homesickness issue for the young ‘uns.
And lots and lots of unscheduled time. Yes, kids will be bored. But boredom is the mother of creativity. Don't cave into the initial whines about being bored and there’s nothing to do. If you give them the space, they will figure out ways to entertain themselves. Let them be (within reason, of course. Let's not be unsafe.)
I'm sure it's very difficult to manage summer if the kids are home and you have to work a full-time job out of the house (or even in the house — that might be worse!) But I think summer planning is essential to maintain your sanity. And there's a balance of providing activities for the kids but not so many that you're a crazy mess. A balance of doing stuff without additional stress, that's what summer is about.
Make those lists. Having it written down will help keep everyone on board with a slower paced summer.
Have a safe & sane rest of the summer.
I have been experiencing an interesting phenomenon the last few years. I'm thinking of my parents as adults with children rather than my mom or my dad. In a sense I am seeing my parents through adult eyes rather than with a child's eyes.
Since Fathers Day is this week, I have been thinking about my dad with those adult eyes. My dad was one of the kindest and gentlest men I have ever met. He strived to be extremely fair and was as honest as the day is long. He was true to his values. Quite the role model. Of course, I didn't realize this until I was older. He was just my dad when I was growing up.
You see, I was a "surprise." Born at a time in my parents' lives when they were starting to have some discretionary time and income since my sisters and brother were quite a bit older when I was born.
So I was raised as a cherished child and I was a bit spoiled (at least according to my siblings!)
Looking through my adult eyes, I can imagine that I probably was spoiled. And I also see why my parents were gone so much of my childhood. They wanted to travel. They wanted to hangout with their friends, who happened to live in different places. I get it now.
And it’s a good thing they did. My mom died when I was a young adult. Her precious gift to the family, especially to my dad, was the ability to say I love you to each other. My dad became my friend and confidante and cheer leader. It was nice to interact with my dad and stepmom as adults.
Not all kids have such an idyllic childhood or the opportunity to, nor do they want to, become friends with their dads. But trying to understand your dad as an adult may give you some insight as to what was going on in his life and why he did the things he did.
With the perspective of an adult, it gives us the opportunity to try to make peace with our dads or to celebrate the man he is now.
Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there.