Looking for peace, rest, rejuvenation and plain ‘ole JOY this summer? Me too girl.
We may homeschool but these five quick tips for a simple and sweet summer applies to everyone. Because we ALL need a little recharging after the school year.
So if you’re looking for a sweet, simple summer with your kids, here are seven tips we use all year round.
Do Things Together
I know –– this list is supposed to help YOU recharge. And we’ll get to that more in a bit.
But when you look into your children’s eyes, when you reallylisten to their stories and concerns, when you take a walk in nature holding hands, discussing life’s biggest questions, or play some board games with them or go splash in the sea together, THEY feel recharged, loved and cared for.
Once they feel like they’re worth your time, you’ll feel like recharging YOURSELF is worth your time as well.
Slow Down Already
Please, for heaven’s sakes, don’t fill up your entire summer calendar with stuff to do 24/7.
Leave ample space to just be.
Sit outside while your kids gobble down popsicles and you read a novel. Literally smell the roses in your garden. Go on a hike just because you just feel like it. Get ice-cream, go on a family walk or go stargazing after dinner just because you can.
Camps are good. Too many camps are not…
Many homeschoolers continue their regular routine throughout the summer months. We are NOT that family. While we do continue a few rhythms, our kids look forward to intentionally choosing a few summer camps. It’s a chance to learn new skills from gifted mentors and make new friends while allowing me the time I need for MAHSELF (I use this time to take solo hikes and explore new natural areas I can eventually bring the kids to, plan for the upcoming school year and this summer I’ll be planning a bit for our trip around the globe as well).
Simplify – 20 Items from Each Room
Here’s my minimalism spiel: If you didn’t already take advantage of decluttering during your spring cleaning spree (or skipped that whole spring cleaning thing altogether), find a day when the kids are out with dad, at summer camp or at the grandparent’s and go through everything.
I mean EVERYTHING. Your kid’s closets, your closets, your kitchen drawers, every nook, space and cranny, and toss or donate at least twenty items from each room.
And then go AHHHH.
There’s nothing like a calm morning that sets you off into the day you desire.
Whether this is making sure you get up and take a walk, read your bible and pray, meditate, do yoga or sit on your balcony to watch the sun rise – let the morning fill your soul. Leave the phone/computer alone until you’ve had time to ponder and be grateful this life.
Model to your kids that mornings don’t always have to be a crazed rush. Consider putting on beautiful, classical music when everyone wakes up to help set the tone. Hug each other, slowly, intentionally, asking what each child dreamt about. Light a candle or throw lavender into your oil diffuser…
Little touches go a long way.
Nurture the Boredom
You’ve minimized. You’ve cleared your schedule. You wake up peaceful, rested and calm. And now, after your kids understand you won’t entertain them all day long, you might even find you yourself are – don’t say it, don’t say it… BORED!
I said it.
But boredom is GOOD!
Take this time to let your kids witness you doing what you love to do – whether that’s reading, painting, hiking, carving wood, volunteering, weaving baskets, playing the didgeridoo (no joke, my husband wants to play one around our fire pit this summer). We can be a strange, strange family sometimes.
Rediscovering your God-given passions (because you’ve created the time and space to do this) is one of the best ways to recharge.
We all know why it’s so important to allow our children to get bored. Boredom spurs critical thinking and creativity, among other things. You don’t need to fill their every summer hour with crafts and games and playdates and camps. Leave a lot of time (I mean hours and days, peeps) for them to live life like a child was created to live it.
Naturally, many parents resort to giving their kids the remote or iPad to pass the time because everyone deserves a break. But I beg of you, this only robs your children of using their brains to come up with a healthier version of entertainment – a mental gift you’ll be giving them for the rest of their lives. We also found our kids find ways to play for hours when they know screens aren’t on the daily “menu.”
Please understand whatever works for your family is the best thing you can do. Enjoy Friday movie nights? (Hand raised here!) It’s more important you don’t stress about it or compare yourself with other families.
Just remind yourself this summer it’s OK if you and your kids get bored –– everyone will be that much more creative for it.
Mom, can we go swimming? Yes!
Date night, babe? Yes!
Go on a picnic? Yes!
Play a game together? Yes!
Go camping? Yes!
Ice cream for all? Yes!
Why not? It’s summer after all!
We spend so much time telling our kids “no” or “not right now,” wouldn’t it be freeing to just say “yes” more often? It may be a little more work on our end, a little bit messier – but get the kids involved in packing, planning and cleaning up. What matters is the memories you make will be priceless. Which brings me to my last tip:
Less Planning, More Memories
Spend some time recording what you did, not what you plan to do this summer.
Because oftentimes the best memories are made during an unplanned adventure…
I sewed together a simple homemade booklet with blank pages in order to document our family’s 2018 summer. It’s not pretty (nor does it deserve a photo in here) but it does it’s job and I can practice my calligraphy without having to cement my mistakes into my yearly homeschool planner. In fact, this serves as a lovely reminder that I too am constantly refining my skills in life.
Then in late August I’ll tuck the little journal in our yearly memory box and next summer, I’ll enjoy flipping through it to remind myself what we loved and experienced together.
Summers are meant to be simple + sweet and I hope you get to experience just that.