Tips for a Summer to Remember
FYI: While this post is geared toward my current season of life, I think it applies to really young families as well as empty-nesters! There are so many ways to enjoy every season of life.
My husband and I have talked about this so many times…we had tons of fun together before we ever had kids, we are enjoying our family now, and there are a million and one things we want to enjoy together when we are older and don’t have kids at home anymore! Summer breaks and vacations apply to ALL SEASONS of life!
I will start this whole blog post by saying that I DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS AND I AM NOT A PARENTING PRO!!!
Actually, very, very, very far from it.
As I was sitting with my summer calendar, thinking about my family and what I desire this summer to look like, I decided to write a blog post. I can’t be the only mom who looks at 10-12 weeks of summer, sometimes thinking it sounds like forever and mostly thinking that it’s going to fly by so fast. How can I ever make the most of it?
Most summers, we plan for a big vacation, along with the occasional family reunion and kids’ church camp. This summer, we are going to kids’ church camp and a weekend family reunion immediately following. But instead of a summer vacation, we are going to keep saving and hopefully take a bucket list trip this fall.
That left me thinking that I want to be extra intentional about our long summer days. Maybe I’m the only one, but it can be easy to fall into a trap of just floating through each day, only for them to disappear in a blink! For our family, it has been an intensely busy school year and I am welcoming the thought of slow, even sometimes lazy, summer days.
I am also welcoming the thought of special, intentional time as a family…right at home.
Who better to tell me what our family summer should look like other than my own kids?
Here are their top 5 requests:
Harrison, age 7
- Family game night
- Summer camp
- Pool day
- Go to the library
Addy, age 11
- Go to the Beach
- Go School shopping
- Swim in the pool
- Family game night
- Eat homemade Ice Cream
Payton, age 13
- Have friends over
- Go bowling
- Picnic at the park
- Outdoor movie night
- Family weekend getaway
#1: Outdoor Time and Activities
Here in Florida, it truly gets too hot sometimes to play outside. Thankfully, we have a pool and when that gets too hot (because sometimes the water legit gets uncomfortably warm!), we head to the beach. My goal is to have one beach day each week and some time in the pool several times a week, even if it’s just for a short swim, a little sunshine, and good exercise!
#2: Mystery Mondays
Our family used to do this every Monday. Robb and I would decide on an activity for the evening, even if it was really short and simple. As the kids have gotten older, homework, tutoring, and extra-curricular activities have really gotten in the way. I want to bring this back for the summer months when we don’t have all those distractions!
Here are some ideas we have enjoyed for our Mystery Mondays:
- Picnic at the park
- Local restaurant
- Trip for ice cream cones or a 99 cent Frosty at Wendy’s
- Game of Uno
- Look at “old” family pictures or videos together
- Shopping trip at the Dollar Spot
#3: Create Family Routines and Clear Expectations
Overall, our family tends to thrive under some reasonable structure. One of our children, in particular, has some unique challenges and having routine is super important. Honestly, I thrive the most with some routine as well, so I’ll be sitting down with our family and discussing some specific routines that we all agree upon for the summer, with lots of room for flexibility and adjusting depending on what we are doing for the day!
Chores and Children
Chores are also something that we implement in our family. It is my opinion that I am not raising just children, but also raising them to be adults who love God, show kindness to others, and have a strong work ethic. We feel that all begins at home, so mixed into our summer fun are regular chores as well. Chores are an excellent way for children to learn not only how to work, but also teamwork, time management, and the value of doing a job right the first time. Important stuff!!!
#4: Create Intentional Personal Time and Space
I doubt I’m the only parent who starts to feel like my kids are breathing down my neck sometimes! And you know what? They can feel the same about their parents and siblings.
Two of my children really do well (just like their mother!) with having some quiet time each day to spend by themselves. As part of our daily routines, we will pencil in a little time each day where everyone can just do their own thing without feeling guilty or selfish or unkind. I think it will be valuable for the kids just as much as it will be for Robb and myself! We did this, though not routinely, during lock-down times and it was really helpful for all of us!
Moms, I think it is really important that we set aside some intentional time, guilt-free, to just be. This is something that I have NOT made a priority over the years. My “quiet time” most often becomes “getting as many things done around the house as I can while everyone is occupied” time. I am not proposing laziness, but rather a healthy balance of work, play, and rest.
#5: Schedule Several Weekend/Day Trips
There are SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN FLORIDA that we have never explored! Summer can be an awesome time to explore around your local and state areas. Granted, Florida is a really big state, but there are so many things within two hours of here that we always say we will do “someday.” I plan for this summer to be our “someday” and fit in a few of those!
Perhaps your time or budget doesn’t allow for a big, fancy vacation. That’s okay! Make it a family challenge to find as many free adventures as you can around your area!
On the way to the beach where our family likes to go, there is a tiny museum. I always think it looks so cute and even the kids have commented that we should stop “someday.” I’m determined that we are going to stop there this summer!
Perhaps you don’t have vacation time to take the typical week-long vacation. That’s okay too! You might be surprised at what an amazing staycation your family can enjoy from Friday at 5:00 p.m. to Sunday evening, even just staying right at home! Plan some fun games, activities, get special snacks and groceries ahead of time, and enjoy swimsuits and pjs all weekend long! (This is on my summer bucket list too!)
So there it is…
It’s not profound or fancy. But the longer I am a wife, mom, and teacher, the more I am becoming aware that many memories are built on the simple things. That saying “Enjoy the Little Things” sounds so cliché, but there is a lot of depth to it that I am looking forward to intentionally exploring this summer!
I hope there has been a little something in this post that can be helpful to you during this summer season! I am also linking up some favorite toys, activities, and games that our family enjoys, in case you need to refresh your supply this weekend like I did!
And someone follow up with me on August 1st and make sure we made it to that tiny museum!