The countdown has begin in our house. Eight more school days left til summer vacation. Here in Portland, we are all craving summer weather, with one or two days above 70 degrees this whole spring, we are long overdue. But as much as the nice weather, I am looking forward to having more time with my school age son. More time to be a kid with him, launching water ballons, splashing in the local pool, visiting the zoo during the week, spending long weekends camping by mountain lakes, lounging in hammocks (okay, maybe not lounging, more realistically tracking my toddler to keep her out of firepits, lakes, and the path of oncoming bicyclists).
As I fantasize about the long summer days before us, I realize that my list of things I hope to do with my family, is far longer then the summer, and that I may have to scale back my plans. Even with the intention of working less, consciously putting some projects on hold until fall, my calender and list of what I plan to do this summer is daunting. I did say, relaxing summer days, right? Does this sound familiar? Are you overscheduling, structuring, scheming, planning your summer into a frenzy?
Take some time now, before the end of the school year. Identify your priorities for the upcoming change in schedule (for those of us with school age kids), and if your schedule won’t be affected by the season, you can still set intentions for the summer. Intentions for summer might be to take more time off, play at a local fountain, host a water balloon fight, enroll in swim lessons, spend a weekend at the beach, mountain, lake, attend an outdoor concert, pick strawberries at a local farm, eat tons of watermelon etc..
In order to make a reasonable list, you may need to cross some items off. And in the interest of balance, set aside times with minimal plans. Protected times that you will sit in the back yard drinking lemonade and let the kids figure out what to do on their own. Unstructured times when you won’t be hosting, traveling, or directing. Free play is important for all of us, and like with many other activities, if we don’t schedule it, it is unlikely to happen. Include your kids in the planning if they are old enough. Seek their input on summer plans. Relish these times. Rejuvenate your soul. Model healthy balance and family priorities for your children. What do you want them to remember about their childhood summers? What are your favorite summer memories?