The final tests or projects have been completed. Backpacks have been hung up until Fall. Many extracurricular activities are on hiatus. Our days are longer, the weather is warming up, and school is officially out which means Summer is finally here! For many families, Summer is a time when everyone can slow down and reconnect with one another. Have you found yourself wondering how you can create meaningful interactions with your kids this summer? Read along for tips on how you can be intentional with your efforts to make this an unforgettable summer for your family!
1) Manage Your Expectations and Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
If you take a look at social media, you may find yourself bombarded with pictures of families going on trips, engaging in daily arts and crafts, or tackling summer projects around their homes. As parents, we can often put unrealistic expectations and standards on ourselves to entertain and engage our children. In reality, our kids will not remember the exact details of the lavish over-the-top trips you planned for summer vacations. However, you can bet that they sure will remember sharing laughs, funny memories, and other special moments when you were connected as a family. Don’t feel like your Summer has to be picture-perfect and Pinterest-worthy. Be present and in the moment with your kids and that tops any extravagant trips you could come up with. Be mindful of that pesky comparison culture and as a reminder, you only see the highlight reel of people’s lives that they want you to see on social media. Your Summer may look very different for you than what it looks like for others and there is nothing wrong with that! Find joy in your own Summer experience without feeling the need to measure up to others.
2) Make An Intentional Effort to Spend Time With Them Daily
Depending on your line of work, you may or may not have a summer break alongside your kids. If you don’t have a Summer break, try to find a way to spend some time with them every day. This may mean you set stricter boundaries on work/life balance throughout the Summer and you might find yourself saying “no” to things so that you can say “yes” to your kids. Even just 15 minutes of uninterrupted fully present quality time with your kids can have such an impact on their mood and your relationship with them. Make it a priority to dedicate quality time with your kids every day and savor the small moments of connection with them when you can. Some examples of incorporating quality time into your day-to-day routine include reading a new book at bedtime together, cooking a meal together, dance party before bed to let out energy, or going for a walk together.
3) Create a Summer Tradition
Establishing fun summer traditions can help the family feel a sense of unity and create memories that will last a lifetime. When I think of family traditions, I often think of the holidays. For example, my family tradition of making homemade hot chocolate and watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to kick off Christmas festivities on Thanksgiving evening. Why should we have to wait until the holiday season to create and enjoy traditions? Summer traditions can give your kids something to look forward to during the school year and something to look back on fondly when they get older. Examples of simple summer family traditions include make-your-own pizza night, weekly board game night, backyard camp-out night, or a summer reading challenge with trips to a local bookstore.
4) Give Them A Voice and Choice
Let’s be honest traveling and planning activities for family can be incredibly challenging and stressful. Why not relieve some of that pressure of planning by asking your child for their input? Instead of wracking your brain trying to find creative activities to engage in or where to go for your next family trip, ask your kids what they want to do! Inviting your kids into planning summer events allows you to see what their interests or passions are, can help them feel excited about the plans, and gives them a sense of control. You may be surprised by the answers you get!
I hope that some of the tips in our blog have given you some ideas on how to be intentional with your Summer to create meaningful and memorable moments with your kids. Do you still feel like you need some examples of activities to engage in for quality time with your kids? Check out our blog titled “
Ten Things to Do With Your Kids For Quality Time” for inspiration. From our therapists at Natural Balance Counseling, have a joyous Summer break!