Summer is here, and school is almost over. In our house, we are elated! We are, by nature, night owls. We love to stay up late and enjoy that peaceful time when the world is sleeping. We write, read, organize, clean, or watch a family movie and snuggle. Then we get to sleep in!
I realize this is not the case for all families. Some children naturally go to bed early and wake up at the crack of dawn, no matter what day it is, or what time of year. And, there are other families who, because of work schedules, experience very little change in their night and morning schedules in the summer.
No matter what your schedule will be for the summer, here are three tips to help you make it the best summer that it can be:
- Tip #1 ~ Have a quick chat about the changes that the summer season brings. What is going to happen with bed times, waking up in the morning, meals, etc.? What structure will be changing? Figure out the lay of the land, so everyone is on the same page with chores, free time, etc. What is expected? If you have the conversation up front, there are less bumps in the road, as you create and adjust to the new summer schedule.
- Tip #2 ~ Have each family member share one thing they want to accomplish over the summer. It might be learning to swim, reading five books, learning how to cook, memorizing their multiplication tables, spending time with grandma/someone special, building a fort, riding bikes every day, etc. Knowing right from the beginning what each person would like to accomplish allows you to plan to include everyone’s dreams.
- Tip #3 ~ Have each person share what would be their #1 choice for a family adventure. See how many of those ideas you can incorporate into one family adventure (or several, if you have time). Try to make sure you plan the summer to include everyone’s desire for adventure. The goal is to get to the end of summer with everyone feeling complete, satisfied, and ready to start the fall season.
Many conflicts at home can be alleviated by proactive communication. These three tips provide an opportunity for each person to express their desires, to care about (listen) to the other family members, and to create something together. Anticipate where you might have challenges, and start asking questions. Let the family be a “team” in resolving issues before they arise.
Every year our children are a year older, and we are too. We are going through various stages of development as a family. Don’t assume what worked last year will work this year. Ask the questions. What do you want to do this year that we did last year? What do you not want to do this year that we did last year? Begin learning how your children have grown and changed over the last several months. It doesn’t have to be a long or serious conversation. It can be a light chat over dinner, or while playing a game. Come from curiosity and interest. Make the exploration and planning fun.
Once you have clarity about what everyone wants to create, be sure to take the step of planning the events, adventures and experiences. Plug those into your calendar right away. It could be as simple as a visit to grandma’s, the park, or the beach. Or, it could be a week-long vacation. And be sure to incorporate what you, the parents, would like the summer to provide for your family. How can you incorporate that into your plans? If you don’t calendar these events and goals now, and plan ahead, summer will fly by and it will become challenging to find time for everything at the last minute.
Have a Super Summer! Enjoy creating memories together.