Summer lives in our imaginations throughout the year because it nourishes our souls. The warmth…the fun…the sheer deliciousness. Time to explore, to make new friends, to lie on your back and watch the clouds billow. The vivid aliveness and freedom…and then “reality sets in.” Are you really relaxing or are you glued to your iPhone and your e-mail? How do you shut down work at the end of the day and where do you find time for yourself and your family? You CAN reclaim summer for your family. In fact, you can make this the best summer ever with your kids. It doesn’t take travel or a lot of money. And you can do it even if you’re working and your kids are in day camp. All it takes is your time. That’s right, your time. I know that it seems like we never have enough time. If you’re anything like most parents, you have a long list of things that need to get done and you feel a little (or a lot!) overwhelmed. But it’s summer. And your appointment book should have the words “relax” penciled in. So finding that sweet spot of “just enough” activity without over-scheduling is the goal. Why not decide now to make the most of this opportunity to connect with your kids? Here are three simple tips to make this summer your best summer ever with your family.
1. Set aside some time every day to have fun with your child. Whether it’s running through the sprinkler together on a hot afternoon or counting the stars on a blanket in the backyard before bedtime, do at least one thing each day to connect and have fun. Remember, what matters is always how it FEELS, not how it LOOKS. Your child doesn’t need a Martha Stewart activity; just a loving connection with you.
2. Commit to de-stressing and just enjoying your life this summer. Kids pick up our attitudes. If you’re stressed, they’ll be stressed, and they’ll fight with each other and drive you crazy. Even if you have to go to work, can you find a way to dial down your stress for the summer? And if you’re lucky enough to be home with the kids, don’t you deserve a delicious summer as much as your children do? Your positive attitude will create a relaxed, happy mood in your house.
3. Institute daily reading time and regular library visits. Books open the imagination, make time disappear, and give kids a wholesome alternative to screens. Reading to your child develops a love of stories and books, which is what starts them wanting to read on their own. So, the “power of the pause” isn’t tied to any amount of time. It’s about how that quality of time is spent. I hope that this summer allows you to pencil in the word “relax” into your planner and do just that!