Who remembers their summers as a kid? As a kid that grew up in the 90s, we rode bikes and played kickball with the neighborhood kids. We spent afternoons running through the garden sprinkler and having ice pops on the sidewalks. Drinking right out of the watering hose on those hot summer days (parents won’t let kids do that nowadays)! We would be outside playing until dark or mosquitos, whichever came first. The simplicity of doing less during the summertime, as a kid, got me thinking what if we said no to a busy summer?
Why are we always trying to keep up with everyone else? Why do we pack our schedules so full – leaving us all exhausted? Society tells us we can’t slow down or even rest on vacation. We try to keep up with everyone else by planning extravagant trips, expensive experiences, and sending our kids to sports camp after camp, but the reality is our kids would be just fine with simple summers and “lazy” vacations.
Here are some ways we are doing less during the summer in our house:
Limiting screen time
Screens suck the life out of you and waste so much time. So I challenge your family to join us in shutting off the screens this summer. Yes, we will still have movie nights, but we will make them special nights. We (by we, I mean I) need to set boundaries with our screen time. Documenting our moments on social media means we end up not being present, and putting a tablet in front of our kids to occupy them does them no good. We challenged our family to more game nights, to learn a new hobby or craft, and to soak up the moments as they happen this summer.
Spend more time outside
We love camping, so starting our day outside is not something new for us. We plan on spending mornings on the deck enjoying breakfast before it gets too hot out and ending it with dinner together after a day of playing. This summer we are challenging our kids to explore more. The plan is to have our kids play outside as much as we can by spending more time in the woods, reading in the hammock, and doing more walks and family bike rides on the Blackstone River Bikeway.
Stop overpacking schedules
Typically our kids are doing multiple classes during the summer. I know a lot of older kids do multiple sports camps and play in summer leagues. I just can’t justify taking the summertime away from my kids for sports and classes at this age. This year we decided to just do swim lessons. Sometimes letting our kids be bored can be a blessing for their growth! Not being gone every night will also let us enjoy our backyard more this summer.
Have a lazy vacation
Crazy, I know, a vacation where you can actually rest. Typically, we are running around filling every day with things to do when we go away. We always want our kids to experience it all. What we learned last year is our kids were just as happy sleeping in and playing together from sunup to sundown. My favorite part of vacation last year was getting up and having our hot cups of coffee as the kids played together easing ourselves into the day rather than running around trying to stick to a schedule. They LOVED a simple vacation just as much as we did.
Do you think this summer you will let yourself do less? Try our best to throw ourselves into the moment and enjoy this precious time with our kids. It is a sad reality, but we all know we won’t have these summers forever.