Summer is upon us and I welcome it with great anticipation. Countless hours of my sweet children all under the same roof- no school pick ups, practices to dash off to and running around looking for the perfect piece to finish off a 2nd graders oral presentation on the state of Michigan. I’m thrilled. But suddenly anticipation is replaced with apprehension. How in the world will we spend all those summer hours? How will I ever keep them entertained? How will I carve out the time I need to accomplish the tasks for which I am responsible?
The thought of what could be washes over me the same way a wave crashes on my feet at the beach… it feels so good- refreshing even; but the frigidness of the water often sends chills up my spine.
I know that I’m the one who will make the summer a complete success in the eyes of my children and my family- my attention to detail, my display of the fruits of the spirit as I interact with my loved ones, my outlook at the beginning of each morning will inevitably be the tone that sets the dog days of summer into motion.
So, the real question isn’t where do I begin with my children, it’s where do I begin individually?
And while it seems a bit easier to stomach, the answer is honestly, more challenging, more revealing and deeper than I had first envisioned.
I asked myself one stinging question, “On the first day of school, I want my children to recall their summer as…”
Then I allowed the reality of this question to sink in. I didn’t want them to recount how many times they had watched a movie, played a video game or saturated themselves in some Apple product. I didn’t want them to just remember that we wasted the days away doing a whole lot of nothing. I certainly didn’t want them to recall my frustrations, my inability to be patient or my tendency to say time and again “Hang on, in just a minute.”
So I dug down deep, where I haven’t tread in some time… into my toolbox of elementary education resources and then coupled that with their love for a schedule (yes, we were that set of Babywise parents).
Here is where I found a solution that I believe will make a positive impact on my children and allow them to share with their classmates about an enjoyable summer chock full of learning, fun and adventure. But really, it’s a summer that will implant memories on their heart, Spiritual truths into their minds and a love for sharing and serving others with the love of Christ.
I took a look at the month of June and considered the Spiritual Truths or Biblical emphasis I wanted to see achieved. In addition, I decided that during the summer months I wanted our children to begin to carry more responsibilities in terms of their contribution to our family. With those ideas in mind, I decided that for June, we’re focusing on Jesus- his life and his servant attitude.
Then, I assigned each weekday with a simple concept, broad enough that we aren’t locked into a certain task time and time again, but narrow enough that I know what I’m working towards each day. And yes, that alliteration from my elementary ed days clearly shines through!
Monday’s we make (create a craft, paint a canvas, make a new recipe)
Tuesdays we travel (take a trip to the library, a new park, a special outing for lunch)
Wednesdays we write (write a story -give the children a “prompt” like: If I could travel anywhere in the world; write in a journal, for younger children- allow them to practice writing their name, answering the prompt (mom writes answer) and they illustrate)
Thursdays we’re thoughtful (Help children come up with ideas to encourage someone they know who needs an extra dose of love- bake cookies, make a card, tie balloons to a mailbox)
Fridays are family fun days (Theme the day and plan all kinds of fun activities based on the theme, pj day, Hawaiian day, art museum day, reading day, etc. On Fridays, we also have instilled a summer activity for the evenings. We pile into our van, run to Dunkin Donuts and get 2 boxes of donuts. We write with a sharpie marker “You’ve been Donuted because God Loves You” and leave it at their door)
Then I took each day and broke it down into a specific schedule- a schedule that works practically for our family. Practical was necessary or it wasn’t going to happen!
Here’s a quick look at a Monday:
730-800 Wake up and quiet playing or reading in room (Gives me a chance to get up, grab some coffee and be prepared to welcome my children with a positive attitude)
800 Breakfast, put dishes away, get dressed, brush teeth, make beds
830 Chores (I have a separate list of chores for each child that are age appropriate for each day of the week. They simply grab their list and get busy.I use the first part of chore time for my quiet time and the second part to do chores that are adult sized”)
930 Family Devotional: For June we’re looking at the life of Jesus (This is where I’m reading straight from the Bible, going a few vereses at a time, interacting with the text and them and sharing personal insight. We conclude with a time of praise and prayer.)
10:30 Outside play time (Pool, basketball, bikes, tag, etc) [Depending on the activity, I can often answer emails to clients during this time]
1130 Cool down inside (water to drink, book to read for kids- I prep lunch)
12:30 Quiet Time (My older ones use the first hour of their quiet time to read for Raise the Roof on Reading) [I use these 2 hours for editing]
130 Quiet Time: Playing (Board games, legos, dolls, etc)
230 Make something Monday (a new recipe, a craft- can pertain specifically to the Scripture read earlier in the morning)
330-430 Outside time (pool, basketball, bikes)
430-530 puzzles, tag time (they each have 30 min tags that they can use for electronics that they must “cash” in) I use this time to prep dinner and edit/answer emails
530 Set table (children rotate this responsibility- they have previously created place cards and whoever sets the table selects where everyone sits)
600 Dinner (Use a jar full of questions a couple of times a week to help w/ conversation)
630 Scripture time (My husband leads this time with the children, since I do the earlier morning devotional)
700 Activity with dad (This I leave up to my hubby’s discretion- he may read books, put puzzles together, play a board game, etc. But since they don’t seem him during the day, this time is critical)
800 Baths, brush teeth, pray and bed
While I know that all the planning in the world can not ensure that summer will be a complete breeze, I do know the intentionality of this schedule will help keep us all on track. It gives us a check – both in our character and in the way that we’re investing our time. It reminds me of the importance of making sure that I spend time with my children during the summer, rather than just share a space with them while I frantically try to accomplish my tasks as a photographer. It also is a good reminder that if I’m prioritizing my day through the lens of God’s Word, that I’ll be more successful in all areas.
May He tug at your heart in special ways this summer to invest your time into the individuals who matter the most and may your obedience in this area bring joy and pleasure when you hear for the hundredth time, “Mom, I’m bored… what can I do!”
Powered by Facebook Comments