Summer break is right around the corner!
Even though I will miss having a routine each day, I am looking forward to the flexibility that comes with fewer places we have to be. As I think about my plans and hopes of what I want to accomplish this summer, right at the top of my list is investing in my relationships with my children.
My oldest only has three more summers at home, and I want to make the most of them. I don’t want to look back and say, “Where did the time go?” I want to say, “Look at the amazing memories we created together and the connection we had!”
Each of my kids has their own personality, interests, and mindset about what is actually fun. Because they are all so different, it forces me to get creative in how I can relate to each one. I’m also mindful of cost, as I don’t want to associate spending quality time with my kids with elaborate, pricey experiences.
Some of the most memorable activities we’ve enjoyed in the past include all of us. One of our favorites is taking a late-day trip to Hammonasset State Beach Park. We pack a picnic dinner, go for a nature walk, play in the sand, and sprawl out on a large blanket while watching the sunset. Sometimes we’ll even bring our bikes and enjoy a nice ride along the boardwalk of the beach.
Other times I make a point to spend time with each of my children one-on-one. During the school year, my son and I spend 15 minutes together each morning as we wait in the school drop-off line. This is an opportunity for us to read a daily devotional and discuss the topic together. It’s certainly a special time that isn’t forced but does require me to be intentional. We won’t have that time naturally carved out for us over the summer. Therefore, it will require extra work on my end to make it happen consistently, but I know it will be worth it.
Another way my son and I bond is through our love of different types of foods. Out of everyone in my family, he is the most adventurous eater, and I love that about him. He’s willing to try new flavors and be daring with me. One time we went on a date together to the Stew Leonard’s hot bar and made a point to try something new. We then sat in the car together with forks and various samplings. He still talks about that memory to this day. I’m going to be looking for new ways he and I can take an ordinary activity (like eating a meal) and turn it into something unexpected and memorable.
Adjusting to Their Needs
I have a very independent daughter, so I’m always on the hunt for ways we can connect that isn’t just shopping or watching Netflix. She loves to bake tasty treats, including cakes and cupcakes. Even though she would prefer not to have my help in the kitchen, I can certainly use the time to sit, chat and encourage her while she’s at work. I’m thinking that instead of me gaining extra pounds by eating all her delicious creations, we can brainstorm different people who could use a homemade treat to brighten their day and hand-deliver it to them.