Parenting Simply: Carefree Summer Days? Yes, please. When you think of “carefree summer days” what images come to mind? I immediately begin thinking of my childhood yard, full of wildflowers and hiding spots and a swing in a tree. I remember my mom’s big thermos full of cold juice, and all of the long leisurely evenings spent under the setting sun and with the twinkling fireflies. Those were carefree days, indeed.
Now, as a mother myself, I’m cued into the fact that there’s actually a lot of transition happening as we move into summer. The warm, sunny days seem to feed the kids’ souls- filling them up with so much energy and calling them out to be wild and free! Luckily for them, school will soon be done, but that brings about huge changes to the daily rhythm. For parents working through the summer, the summertime juggle of childcare and summer camps and sports teams and weekend parties will soon begin. How do we keep all these balls in the air? And how do we hold onto those carefree summer days of our youth?
By saying “No, thank you” more often than you’d think.
Summer can sort of epitomize what’s become so challenging about the times we live in–there are just so many options. Good options. Fun options. And we want to give our children the best experiences. But if your childhood memories are anything like mine, you already know that what children remember most are vast stretches of carefree time. They remember the amazing freedom to play and explore and create on their own.
Of course, we adults do have real commitments and obligations, even in the summer. But if we carefully plan how we accomplish these things, and carve out plenty of time for uninterrupted, unstructured play for our kids, we will be ensuring that they get all the benefits of carefree summer days to balance out the stress of going, going, going.
Looking at the summer ahead, can you say “No, thank you” to one camp or activity and stay home together instead?; can you choose one weekend each month, or one day each week to say “No, thank you” to invitations to barbecues or trips or team sports, and replace it with a relaxing day for your own family?
Say “Yes, please” to carefree, connecting, relaxing, recharging and you will have the makings of the greatest summer memories for your children!