It’s that time of the year. Parents either love or hate summer. Maybe it’s the extra pressure to perform and create a Pinterest-worthy summer or the constant presence of your kids or the lack of your usual routine. Maybe you love summer and bloom with the free-flow of it all. Or maybe you have your summer bucket list and your pool bag packed and sitting by the door.
Whichever way you lean, summer brings its own joys and struggles, but with a little planning you can craft a summer that meets your family.
1. Take a break.
Before you jump in to your regularly scheduled summer routine and programs, take a week or two after you’re done with school to just decompress. Rather than go from one scheduled season to another, take a break to allow yourself and your kids the freedom to just do what you want, what comes naturally.
Have a few anchors in your day (meals, outside time, quiet time, etc), but give yourself (and your kids) permission to just play or read a book for a couple of hours, cook simple meals, sleep in late, and skip a few chores. Parents and kids alike need that break. Then also, we can see what rhythm our family is naturally leaning toward and what are needs really are, rather than have a set schedule we’re trying to fit in that may or may not work.
2. Build rhythms and routines.
As you’re decompressing, take a few mental notes to jot down what you’d like to do for the summer. What are you goals for your family as the parent? What areas you want to grow in or things you want to experience or create? How do your weeks naturally flow? Is there a big difference between your school year schedule and your summer schedule? Build a rhythm for your household by anchoring an activity to a day of the week. For example, in our family Monday is Catch-up Day where I tackle household things that need tending, Tuesday is Library, Wednesday is Nature Day, etc.
When planning your daily rhythms and routines, remember rhythms change with the time of year, our season in life, our current responsibilities and needs. Every season may look different. What’s worked before may not work this season and that’s okay. Give yourself permission to adapt and change things as needed. Rhythms and routines are to be for our benefit, not chain us to a schedule.
Things to consider:
- What’s the natural flow of our day right now?
- What’s working? What’s not working?
- What areas could use more structure? Less structure?
- What do I want my day to look like? What’s realistic?
- What might benefit my family and household?
- What are you saying yes to? What are you saying no to?
You could call this self-care or mother culture. How are you going to cultivate and nourish yourself this summer? Maybe it’s as simple as creating your own morning routine or finally committing to that yoga practice. It could be taking short adventures with your kids to appease your own adventurous spirit. Perhaps it’s tackling your book list or getting back to your own creative practices (writing, painting, etc). Build in some time this summer to do what makes you feel alive and in doing so, you’ll be more ready and full to be present and bring life to your children.