I spent my summers pre-kids working for and running summer camps. I met and fell in love with my husband at camp. Deep down inside, I still love belting camp songs, complete with motions. It is in my blood. Which is why this summer breaks my heart. Camps all over the world either flat out cancelled or altered almost beyond recognition in a time when we are all needing some normal.
As we have found our groove, I have been trying out different ways to add a little structure to our days. Something to expect and look forward to. While I appreciate my children’s ability to get along spending entire days building LEGO in the basement, I was getting bored! I have settled on a very loose and flexible framework for our weekdays. If we skip something or go on a long hike and don’t get around to all our plans, I don’t sweat it. Summer is supposed to fun rather than stressing out kids or moms!
Camp Mom is in session:
This has turned out to be a huge winner! I dug through my (too extensive) craft supply hoard and made a list of activities and crafts we could do using supplies on hand. We put them on slips of paper and into a jar and we pull one out when we are looking for something to do. Slime, friendship bracelets, and beads! It’s been fun to introduce them to some of my favorite camp activities. When my memory has failed on the how-to of the day’s craft, we have turned to YouTube for help.
In my constant quest to raise adults rather than kids, life skills are front and center. I have a reluctant chore-completer who values choice, so I got a little creative. Every week, each kid gets four chores and they get to choose what order and how quickly they complete them. If they complete all four, they get paid on a simple ledger. This helps them understand the process, and we’re incorporating other lessons, such as developing a budget that includes saving and giving.
We also give them opportunities to work on skills that interest them. So far, we have done some more involved cooking together, as well as some woodworking and bicycle maintenance. They have expressed interest in sewing and photography. We have spent time writing actual letters to send to friends and family.
Now more than ever, it feels so important to focus some attention on our emotional intelligence and wellness. Sometimes we are working out or going for a walk or a hike. Other times, we practice meditation or yoga together. We checked out a few library books that have short lessons and activities to work on coping skills and self-understanding. Through all of it, we’re taking time to talk about all the feelings we are having.
I have always been a fan of afternoon tea. It feels fancy and luxurious, and gives a good pause in an ordinary day. The kids have enjoyed taking turns deciding on our refreshments and a topic of conversation. We have an unofficial rule that elaborate desserts can only happen once a week. Every week, one day is a poetry party. We’ve been enjoying perusing some poetry books and sharing some out loud together. A couple weeks in and we all look forward to our daily ritual.
What are you choosing to fill your summer with? What is working well for your family?