Today my son and I showed up at his friend’s house to pick him up for golf lessons. I rang the doorbell and waited, and waited, and waited. I called and texted his mom, wondering where they were. The other boys in the car were getting restless wanting to get to the course. Then I slowly re-read the mother’s original text and clearly saw that the tee time she made was not for today but tomorrow. Red-faced, I apologized and made other plans for the boys.
What a day. It continued in the same way…I was late for pick up, late for my mom’s retirement party, and late for dinner with friends. One week into our summer vacation I knew I need a better plan. Is summer really a vacation? If so, for who?
Now, I need to let you know that I have always loved summer and having the kids home. But as they are getting older it seems they constantly want to be with friends, play sports, and be on the go. It’s taking a toll on the whole family. My kids needed a plan. I needed a plan.
Summer is a glorious time when we can sleep in and be spontaneous, but it is also a time for children to learn more responsibility and be accountable for making their own plans. Household chores and summer studying to keep up academic skills develop ownership are part of the plan. Here are a few suggestions on how to have a balanced summer, including time to be footloose and fancy free as well as have scheduled work and study time.
• Print off children’s summer schedules. Post the schedules in a place where both you and your children can see them.
• Allow children to pick weeks that they will be off from summer studying. We all need a true vacation from our job.
• Each week walk through the schedule. Write in the additional house hold chores and when they need to be completed. This will help set the expectation for what will be done around the house and lighten your “to do” list.
• Set academic goals for your children and each week help them to document when they will complete different activities. This builds ownership through commitment and hard work. (Read School…in the Summer?)
Learn new things with your children. Spontaneous trips to the beach or new discoveries in the backyard are amazing ways to learn through experiences. (Reference the blog post, Summertime.)
I explained to my children that we all need to work together to make this summer fun for everyone, me included. By allowing them to take on more chores around the house and spend time with their studies, we will all benefit. They will develop responsibility, ownership and confidence while I will have less on my “to do” list. This allows us all to have more time and enjoy these precious days of summer together.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
By Megan Stone, M.Ed.
Wife to Rick
Mom of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc.