At the risk of sounding a little nostalgic, I am proud to say I grew up in the golden age of summer, where we played freely once the memory of the school year faded away.
This fall, my son starts first grade and my heart is simultaneously overflowing and breaking. Until then, we have the incredible gift of an actual summer break! Our first real summer in almost eight years! My goal is to give him the kind of summer I enjoyed as a kid; lazy mornings, long days at the pool, and time with friends & family. Though, I realize times have changed and I occasionally fall victim to the same thinking that gets to so many parents, “Don’t miss the opportunity to get them further ahead for his next school year.” “Good parents don’t let their children get bored. They have camps booked, summer reading lists, STEM programs and pre-planned schedules down to the minute.” Ugh, that is so much pressure! Does he really need all of that? I don’t even think I can keep that up for more than three days! The stereotypical dilemma: plan, prepare, and conquer, or relax, unwind, and explore?
So far, I’ve chosen to lean towards letting him cut loose and make as many memories as he possibly can. We’ve allowed each day to simply unfold before us and have taken plenty of time to relish the time we’ve been given. We’ve enjoyed long afternoons at the pool, visited museums, cheered the Astros, explored new recipes, and took an unforgettable trip to Lake Tahoe, where he caught his first fish. These moments we’ve shared as family, I believe will shape him into the kind of person I know the world will be happy to know.
I have found some ways to balance this unscheduled lifestyle with hints of structure. His bedtime remains the same and I still expect him to complete a few hours of academic work each day (I mean, the teacher in me was never going to let him lose all the progress Kindergarten brought him). I’ve taken steps to make sure that his screen time is earned and limited, time is spent outdoors each day, and we have added to his list of “jobs.” Other than that, I’ve allowed him to make creative messes and play to his heart's content. I’ve also allowed myself the opportunity to just relax and enjoy watching his childhood unfold. Life is what you make it, and this summer we are busy making memories!
Parenting is a practice; when we share, we learn. We would love to hear from you. What are some of your summer go-to items? Favorite summer vacations and memories? And favorite parenting summer tricks and hacks?
Check out some of our summer must-haves below - available in store this August!
MiniShades - the perfect sunglasses for active kids.
GromSquad Hats - perfect for littles and bigs.
Island Thyme Salve - for the occasional bug bite or boo-boos.