Planning for Summer

sprinklers
source: jodimichelle via Flickr Creative Commons

In this month’s print issue of ParentLife, writer Emily Pardy urges us to grasp on to “Summer Sanity” by making a list of priorities and plans for the summer. Have you been doing that? I’ve been thinking a lot about how summer will go around our house.

In the fall, my three children will be in second grade, kindergarten, and 3-year-old preschool. I am pregnant, so this will be the last summer for awhile we can take advantage of having all children who know how to hold hands in a parking lot and I’m not too worried about killing each other if we send them outside for half an hour. But because I am pregnant, this also may be a summer where I need more rest than usual. We may or may not be moving apartments. We have a lot of “ifs” up in the air.

So we haven’t really made any firm plans – camps, many trips, etc. Usually we schedule our older two for at least one week of day camp, but we’ve decided to put that on the back burner for now.

Here are my priorities for the summer:

  • Take our third annual beach vacation to Tybee Island. We all enjoy this; it’s relaxing, and we have fun.
  • Go swimming. If needed, get swim lessons for my 7-year-old to be fully competent as a swimmer.
  • Send kids to “Nana Camp” and “Grandma Camp.” We are so blessed to have both sets of our parents within driving distance, and they LOVE having the kids come to stay for a couple days during the summer. The kids love getting one-on-one time. We get to spend a little more one-on-one time with the kids left at home, too. It’s nice to mix things up.
  • Help my 7-year-old daughter become proficient in the kitchen – and get my 5-year-old son started, too. They both love cooking and have been inspired by MasterChef, Jr. I can be a little too territorial about my kitchen space, but I want all my kids to learn to cook.
  • Playground hop in Chattanooga.
  • Spend time with great friends.
  • Encourage reading.

I also intend to let the kids make a little bucket list of things they want to do or places to go. I won’t promise to do everything, but I want to let them play a role there.

Have you started planning for summer? As Pardy writes, summer can be the right time for “structure, sunshine, skill-building, and sleep.” Sleep. There is a summer plan I can get behind!

Planning for the New Year as a Family

family resolutions

 

2014 has sprung! Let’s ignore all the blather about how old we’re getting (when did YOU graduate high school?) and instead get to the point. Whether on paper or just in passing thought, you probably make some sort of resolution for yourself each new year. Have quiet time, go to church, lose 20 pounds, stop spending.

But why not involve your kids? Sit down together with a pen and paper (or be trendy and use chalk and a big chalkboard-paint wall) and talk through some things you want to do as a family this coming year. Less of a bucket list and more of an goal sheet, this is a great way to hold yourself accountable and get everyone thinking on the same page.

Here are some ideas to help you start.

  • Family Traditions – What are some traditions you have or some you’d like to start? Vacationing the same place each year, having a weekly game or movie night, or just having a family devotion before bed? Traditions help keep families together and feeling connected.
  • Places to Go, People to See – This is your “bucket list” stop. What are some places you’d like to visit this year? People you want to see or write to or reestablish a connection with? Think outside the box: could you write to a missionary? Send cookies to someone in the military? Visit a shut-in?
  • The Family Who Eats Together … – “According to a number of reports issued by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), children who eat at least five times a week with their family are at lower risk of developing poor eating habits, weight problems or alcohol and substance dependencies, and tend to perform better academically than their peers who frequently eat alone or away from home.” – Huffington Post
  • Parent-Child Dates – How will parents make sure each child has individual attention? Ask your kids and see how they respond. How do they envision spending one-on-one time with each parent?
  • Weekly Schedule – Talk through how much your weeks hold. Do they seem crammed, with no time to enjoy rest and down time? Would your kids enjoy adding an activity or changing what they participate in?

I hope you’ll take these bullets as some jumping-off points. Let me know if you decide on any “family resolutions” for 2014!

photo credit: Elle_Ann

ParentLife 2010

16_2010.jpgIt’s hard to believe, but the ParentLife team is already starting to make plans for 2010 and we need your help! We want to make sure the topics we cover are practical and helpful to your everyday life. So tell us …

What parenting questions do you have (or hear your friends asking) related to this specific stage of parenting?

Leave us a comment and let us know. Or e-mail your ideas to parentlife@lifeway.com. (Please include in your comment or e-mail the ages of your child/children.) We want to use this information to plan the topics we will cover in our “Growth Spurts” section in 2010.