Summer is here!!!!
Except it’s not.
I was at the library with my 18 month old granddaughter this morning and overheard some conversations between moms and the children’s librarian. They were discussing ‘summer slide.’ That dreaded decline in students abilities over the summer break. On Pinterest, I was deluged with posts about how to keep your kids reading over the summer, or… here’s a link to math worksheets to keep those skills up. On Facebook, more articles on the same theme. Everywhere I turned it was another reminder that we need to keep our children productive, learning, doing… ALL THE TIME.
What happened to lazing on the grass watching the ants, running in the sprinklers, or eating watermelon on the porch? When do we all get to take a BREAK!
I love books, ideas, and education as much as anyone, but I also love children. They get one childhood, that’s it, just one. And while there might be some ‘summer slide’ going on ( frankly, can’t we mitigate that with something more enjoyable than worksheets..sheesh), there are also huge benefits from just taking a break.
Imagine, stepping away from the planning, unplugging the computer, ditching the phone and spending a few weeks with your kids. Not keeping them productive, not shuttling them from activity to activity, not vegging in front of the TV or computer…but spending time with them. Enjoying them. Listening to them. Creating with them.
Your kids are only 8, or 11, or 13 this one summer. And then it’s gone. Trust me, I’m on the other side. Those long summer days are precious.
How would I craft the perfect summer….
Unplug! As much as it is possible put away the screens.
Get outside. It can just be a picnic in the backyard with the hose to cool off, but being outdoors doesn’t just give our bodies fresh air, it also breathes life into our minds and souls.
Do simple things. Why do we make it so complicated. Cut up a watermelon and go watch the sunset. Take a board game to the park. Sit around a fire pit roasting marshmallows. Gather everyone together and read a few chapters of a great book together each night. Visit the grandparents. Set up a lemonade stand. Have a contest to see who can create the best popsicle. Fly a kite, blow bubbles. Go to a free concert at the park. Play kickball or foursquare. Have a bicycle parade.
Whatever you do, do it with your kids. Be fully present. Let them know how much you love spending time with them. When you do, even the simplest activities become special.
Giving your kids a great summer isn’t about taking them to the latest, greatest theme park…or going on that expensive vacation. It’s about giving them you, unhurried and fully present for this precious slice of life.