Our goals for the 2015 summer break are simple:
- have fun & laugh a lot
- rest and no rushing
- build deeper relationships with each other
With those being our top priorities I threw out the lofty idea of having a crazy minute by minute schedule. My type A personality loves the idea of that but in reality that type of scheduling causes the opposite of fun, laughter, and rest; and instead creates an environment that no one really wants to be in.
I created a mini checklist of daily goals and they are essentially what make up my summer resource list. This little list of daily goals keeps my wandering brain a bit more grounded.
- Quiet Time in the Word: Essential for tackling long days with kiddos. A time to have our minds and hearts reset to what matters most.
- Learning Time: Simplicity is key. This is not over involved and requires little to no preparation ahead of time from mama. Again, the goal is rest. And fun. The goal is not a pinterest inspired science experiment that I can blog about tomorrow.
- Bible Time: As mamas we tend to over spiritualize things such as this or over think them. Keep it simple. Open the Bible and read one verse with your kids. Pray with them. It will be crazy and chaotic but it’s an amazing opportunity to acknowledge Jesus in your every day life with your kids. He isn’t just for Sundays.
- Physical Activity: Again. No overthinking. Just build it into your daily rhythm.
- Rest: Daily time of rest is mandatory. And believe it or not my 8 year old will still nap for an hour or two every afternoon. He has finally discovered the beauty of a good afternoon nap.
- Focused Quiet Time. Start the day before your kiddos to give yourself even a minute or two to mentally prepare for the day. Personally I think that time goes best with coffee in hand.
- Simple Daily Schedule. Our schedule is super simple and it changes from day to day. I use a big framed chalkboard in our kitchen to write the day’s schedule on. To me, the chalkboard communicates that we are open to change and flexible. It also provides a method for me to not fall into my perfectionist ways. The schedule doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be quick and simple, not overly planned or complicated. Perfect fit for our summer goals.
- TIP: Let your kids “help” you make the schedule. This gives them a sense of ownership over their days and provides an opportunity to eliminate the “what are we doing next” questions.
- Summer Reading List. Have a list of books you would like to read either with your child or on their own this summer. This is a great way to work towards goals as a family in a very simple and very rewarding way (reading is ALWAYS a good idea!) Make sure to celebrate every time a book is finished!
- TIP: I found this super helpful Reading List divided by age groups.
- TIP: Set an amount of “reading time” a day. If they choose to read more, give them a bonus like screen time or a special treat.
- Educational Workbooks. Simple workbooks are key to having a bit of learning time every day and I am a huge fan of the books listed here. My kiddos have to do 1 page (front and back) a day. If they choose to do more they get a reward.
- Early Learning Activity Book (perfect for the littlest ones)
- Let’s Color by Kumon (perfect for the littlest ones. I am currently obsessed with these coloring books!)
- Summer Bridge Activities
- Bible Emphasis. This can be as simple as opening up the Bible and praying together. Just set a time to make sure it happens consistently so as to make it a part of your daily rhythm. Breakfast time seems to work pretty well for us. A few of my favorite Bible Resources:
- Adventure Journal by Intentional Home
- Bible Studies for Kids by Kay Arthur
- Jesus Calling Devotional for Kids
- Physical Activity. We try to go for a bike ride/walk to the park and/or pool every day. Its amazing what those endorphins can do for a bad attitude. And this is not optional. I have a rather grumpy 5 year old who almost never wants to do this, but once we are on our way, his attitude usually turns around. 😉
I hope this little list helps as you continue to pursue the hearts of your children this summer! Tell me, what are your summer tricks and tips?!