Is your inbox filling with online brochures and messages touting great camps, activities, and events your children can take part in this summer? Is your mailbox stuffed with catalogs listing community classes, lessons, and field trips for your kids? Registration begins in March…and it’s enough to send the most organized parent into a frenzy.
The problem isn’t finding great programs for children, it’s choosing the best activities for the child.
At a family meeting when my boys were in elementary school, we were discussing the summer activity schedule. Baseball, soccer, church camp, swimming, tennis, and the like were all on the table. With the calendar spread before us, we went to work looking at dates, trying not to overlap activities. It was a daunting task to get the schedules to mesh together.
During our discussion, one of the boys quietly said, “I don’t want to do a sport this summer. I’d rather just ride my bike or invite my friends over to play basketball.”
His brother chimed in, “Me too!”
Scott and I just looked at each other, dumbfounded. The boys felt the squeeze for time too. That summer became know as “The Summer We Didn’t”. Each one went to church camp and took swimming lessons. That was enough. Every year after that slow summer we tried to keep the experience in mind when planning the schedule.
What are your plans for the summer? In Ecclesiates 3:1 we read, “There is time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” The activities don’t have to all be done at the same time, nor do your children have to experience every sport, lesson, or activity before they reach middle school.
Pointers for Parents to Plan for Summer Activities
• Have the calendar in hand at a family meeting. Mark the last day of school in May/June and the beginning of the school year next fall.
• Collect the catalogs and flyers with interesting options for summer activities. Print the online offerings. Give the children an opportunity to peruse the materials. What sounds interesting?
• Take into account previous commitments: time at the family cabin, a reunion, visiting relatives.
• What activities (sports, music lessons, etc.) do the children already participate in that will carry over into the summer months?
• Do you have travels plans? How much time will your family be out of town?
• How much vacation time do you have?
• Consider transportation to the various activities. Are carpooling or hiring a babysitter to drive the children options?
• Take advantage of just being together. Leave blank days on the calendar for spontaneous family fun!
Planning ahead will save time in the long run. You and your family will look forward to the summer months with less stress. Enjoy the planning!
There is time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.
By Becky Danielson
Wife to Scott, Mom of two
Licensed Parent & Family Educator
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting
Co-author of The 1 Corinthians 13 Parent Series:
Raising Little Kids with Big Love and
Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love