Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

I love a good list. LOVE. THEM. A few years ago, I covered our kitchen chalkboard in this epic Summer Bucket List.

That was two years ago and it was perfect for the sort of summer I wanted for my kids. They were the perfect age to go DO ALL THE THINGS! No more diaper bags. Everyone could make it through the day without a nap. I had just left a job where I had been working full-time, outside of my house and I felt like I was missing out.

It was time to pack in the fun!

 

And we did. It was so great and I’m so glad we did it.

But as my kids have gotten just a bit older, I’m ready to shift gears a little bit.

To shift from “Entertainment Director” to “Life Coach.”

It sounds so boring, right?

As if I’ll be asking my kids to spend the summer grinding their own wheat and beating their clothes on rocks to clean them.

Here me out.

For the last few years, the “Summer Bucket List” or “Holiday Fun List” has been a study in my ability to conduct expert Google searches for entertainment and activities and “must see” events.

But I’ve noticed that we’re tip-toeing into a world where my kids arise from bed every morning wondering what wonderful thing we’ve prepared for them today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of wonderful things. BIG. FAN. (Just went to Disneyland, so I’m not trying to pretend I’m not all about the magic.) But I’m also a big believer in boredom as a creativity booster.

Also; there are no Entertainment Directors when you’re a grown up. Life is not always a non-stop party and I want my kids to learn these critical skills:

  1. Connecting with people.
  2. Finding the joy in everyday things.

 

I decided to rethink our Summer Bucket List.

Instead of “what should we do?” I asked “what do I want to get out of this summer?”

  • Quality time and connection.
  • Practice skills for a happy life.
  • Practice being a big kid.

This shift means that instead of a long list of ticketed activities, I’ve got a summer bucket list that looks something like this:

Teach the kids “slow fun.”

Screen-free old school fun; puzzles, board games, cards, reading in the shade. If you don’t bust out the board games, how are your kids going to learn the art of trash-talking, or how darn smart their Grandpa is, or how sneaky their Grandma can be. My kids come from a long-line of card players—they need to be properly trained. Those are the moments that connect you to your family and reinforce how to have fun, without a screen.

Spend time with our extended family.

Sunday BBQ’s, cook with Grandma, camping and visits with our extended family. Traditions are built one Sunday, and one summer at a time. More people knowing, loving, and enriching the lives of my kids is a good thing.

Connection to the neighborhood.

Knock on doors, use up all the sidewalk chalk, share our popsicles. Those are the things that really belong on a summer bucket list. I’m not setting up “playdates” or texting to make arrangements to play. They need to figure this stuff out.

Appreciation and exposure to the outdoors.

Hike, go to the lake, hit the bike trail, post-dinner walks to the park, dinner picnics in the mountains. We are lucky to live 25 minutes away from straight-up wilderness, we should be taking advantage of it more.

Room to be creative with their time!

Protect downtime and provide open access to craft supplies and the blanket fort box. “Boredom” breeds some of the most entertaining creative play I’ve ever had the privilege to eavesdrop on. 

Learn a few routines and responsibilities.

Standard chores, help with big projects, work for hire. I’ve not been consistent with chores and now sometimes my kids simply walk away from their dinner plate and, OH HECK NO, that’s not going to work for me. Or for them in the long term.

Skills for a happy life.

Cooking nutritious meals, eating outside, watching sunsets, sitting on the porch and enjoying a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Yes, I realize most of those revolve around food. But food is an absolutely GLORIOUS part of life and I want my kids to be able to cook delicious food for themselves one day.

To try new things and challenge ourselves.

Try the climbing gym. Try a slack line. Train for the next Taekwondo tournament. My kids are well out of that window where everything is new and hard and takes so much work to master—remember when we were pumped when our kids learned to walk? I want them to have a chance to be a beginner again. Brave is a muscle. You have to use it to keep it.

Do FUN Things with our tribe.

Meet our friends at the food truck park. Take a small army of moms and kids to the lake. Driveway fireworks party with the neighbors. Family is wonderful, but the family you pick? Those people are magic.

Serve others.

Think of ways to help, surprise, and dish up joy to the friends, family, and even strangers in our lives. Learn how good it feels to do something because you know that someone is going to feel special because of your efforts.

So, maybe this isn’t the big dazzling summer bucket list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post, but I’m looking forward to a summer of spending less; less money, less time on screens, and less time hustling.

And getting more;

More quality time together.
More feeling like I’m helping raise my kids into wonderful adults.
More memories with the people we love.

There is such a huge benefit for kids when families can focus their energy and finances on experiences over things. (Kalli wrote a fantastic post about this around Christmas time. Go read it.)

Other posts you might enjoy…

Planning a Family Vacation? When Should You Begin?

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Family Road Trip

On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

The post Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List appeared first on TodaysMama.

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

I love a good list. LOVE. THEM. A few years ago, I covered our kitchen chalkboard in this epic Summer Bucket List.

That was two years ago and it was perfect for the sort of summer I wanted for my kids. They were the perfect age to go DO ALL THE THINGS! No more diaper bags. Everyone could make it through the day without a nap. I had just left a job where I had been working full-time, outside of my house and I felt like I was missing out.

It was time to pack in the fun!

 

And we did. It was so great and I’m so glad we did it.

But as my kids have gotten just a bit older, I’m ready to shift gears a little bit.

To shift from “Entertainment Director” to “Life Coach.”

It sounds so boring, right?

As if I’ll be asking my kids to spend the summer grinding their own wheat and beating their clothes on rocks to clean them.

Here me out.

For the last few years, the “Summer Bucket List” or “Holiday Fun List” has been a study in my ability to conduct expert Google searches for entertainment and activities and “must see” events.

But I’ve noticed that we’re tip-toeing into a world where my kids arise from bed every morning wondering what wonderful thing we’ve prepared for them today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of wonderful things. BIG. FAN. (Just went to Disneyland, so I’m not trying to pretend I’m not all about the magic.) But I’m also a big believer in boredom as a creativity booster.

Also; there are no Entertainment Directors when you’re a grown up. Life is not always a non-stop party and I want my kids to learn these critical skills:

  1. Connecting with people.
  2. Finding the joy in everyday things.

 

I decided to rethink our Summer Bucket List.

Instead of “what should we do?” I asked “what do I want to get out of this summer?”

  • Quality time and connection.
  • Practice skills for a happy life.
  • Practice being a big kid.

This shift means that instead of a long list of ticketed activities, I’ve got a summer bucket list that looks something like this:

Teach the kids “slow fun.”

Screen-free old school fun; puzzles, board games, cards, reading in the shade. If you don’t bust out the board games, how are your kids going to learn the art of trash-talking, or how darn smart their Grandpa is, or how sneaky their Grandma can be. My kids come from a long-line of card players—they need to be properly trained. Those are the moments that connect you to your family and reinforce how to have fun, without a screen.

Spend time with our extended family.

Sunday BBQ’s, cook with Grandma, camping and visits with our extended family. Traditions are built one Sunday, and one summer at a time. More people knowing, loving, and enriching the lives of my kids is a good thing.

Connection to the neighborhood.

Knock on doors, use up all the sidewalk chalk, share our popsicles. Those are the things that really belong on a summer bucket list. I’m not setting up “playdates” or texting to make arrangements to play. They need to figure this stuff out.

Appreciation and exposure to the outdoors.

Hike, go to the lake, hit the bike trail, post-dinner walks to the park, dinner picnics in the mountains. We are lucky to live 25 minutes away from straight-up wilderness, we should be taking advantage of it more.

Room to be creative with their time!

Protect downtime and provide open access to craft supplies and the blanket fort box. “Boredom” breeds some of the most entertaining creative play I’ve ever had the privilege to eavesdrop on. 

Learn a few routines and responsibilities.

Standard chores, help with big projects, work for hire. I’ve not been consistent with chores and now sometimes my kids simply walk away from their dinner plate and, OH HECK NO, that’s not going to work for me. Or for them in the long term.

Skills for a happy life.

Cooking nutritious meals, eating outside, watching sunsets, sitting on the porch and enjoying a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Yes, I realize most of those revolve around food. But food is an absolutely GLORIOUS part of life and I want my kids to be able to cook delicious food for themselves one day.

To try new things and challenge ourselves.

Try the climbing gym. Try a slack line. Train for the next Taekwondo tournament. My kids are well out of that window where everything is new and hard and takes so much work to master—remember when we were pumped when our kids learned to walk? I want them to have a chance to be a beginner again. Brave is a muscle. You have to use it to keep it.

Do FUN Things with our tribe.

Meet our friends at the food truck park. Take a small army of moms and kids to the lake. Driveway fireworks party with the neighbors. Family is wonderful, but the family you pick? Those people are magic.

Serve others.

Think of ways to help, surprise, and dish up joy to the friends, family, and even strangers in our lives. Learn how good it feels to do something because you know that someone is going to feel special because of your efforts.

So, maybe this isn’t the big dazzling summer bucket list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post, but I’m looking forward to a summer of spending less; less money, less time on screens, and less time hustling.

And getting more;

More quality time together.
More feeling like I’m helping raise my kids into wonderful adults.
More memories with the people we love.

There is such a huge benefit for kids when families can focus their energy and finances on experiences over things. (Kalli wrote a fantastic post about this around Christmas time. Go read it.)

Other posts you might enjoy…

Planning a Family Vacation? When Should You Begin?

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Family Road Trip

On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

The post Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List appeared first on TodaysMama.

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

I love a good list. LOVE. THEM. A few years ago, I covered our kitchen chalkboard in this epic Summer Bucket List.

That was two years ago and it was perfect for the sort of summer I wanted for my kids. They were the perfect age to go DO ALL THE THINGS! No more diaper bags. Everyone could make it through the day without a nap. I had just left a job where I had been working full-time, outside of my house and I felt like I was missing out.

It was time to pack in the fun!

 

And we did. It was so great and I’m so glad we did it.

But as my kids have gotten just a bit older, I’m ready to shift gears a little bit.

To shift from “Entertainment Director” to “Life Coach.”

It sounds so boring, right?

As if I’ll be asking my kids to spend the summer grinding their own wheat and beating their clothes on rocks to clean them.

Here me out.

For the last few years, the “Summer Bucket List” or “Holiday Fun List” has been a study in my ability to conduct expert Google searches for entertainment and activities and “must see” events.

But I’ve noticed that we’re tip-toeing into a world where my kids arise from bed every morning wondering what wonderful thing we’ve prepared for them today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of wonderful things. BIG. FAN. (Just went to Disneyland, so I’m not trying to pretend I’m not all about the magic.) But I’m also a big believer in boredom as a creativity booster.

Also; there are no Entertainment Directors when you’re a grown up. Life is not always a non-stop party and I want my kids to learn these critical skills:

  1. Connecting with people.
  2. Finding the joy in everyday things.

 

I decided to rethink our Summer Bucket List.

Instead of “what should we do?” I asked “what do I want to get out of this summer?”

  • Quality time and connection.
  • Practice skills for a happy life.
  • Practice being a big kid.

This shift means that instead of a long list of ticketed activities, I’ve got a summer bucket list that looks something like this:

Teach the kids “slow fun.”

Screen-free old school fun; puzzles, board games, cards, reading in the shade. If you don’t bust out the board games, how are your kids going to learn the art of trash-talking, or how darn smart their Grandpa is, or how sneaky their Grandma can be. My kids come from a long-line of card players—they need to be properly trained. Those are the moments that connect you to your family and reinforce how to have fun, without a screen.

Spend time with our extended family.

Sunday BBQ’s, cook with Grandma, camping and visits with our extended family. Traditions are built one Sunday, and one summer at a time. More people knowing, loving, and enriching the lives of my kids is a good thing.

Connection to the neighborhood.

Knock on doors, use up all the sidewalk chalk, share our popsicles. Those are the things that really belong on a summer bucket list. I’m not setting up “playdates” or texting to make arrangements to play. They need to figure this stuff out.

Appreciation and exposure to the outdoors.

Hike, go to the lake, hit the bike trail, post-dinner walks to the park, dinner picnics in the mountains. We are lucky to live 25 minutes away from straight-up wilderness, we should be taking advantage of it more.

Room to be creative with their time!

Protect downtime and provide open access to craft supplies and the blanket fort box. “Boredom” breeds some of the most entertaining creative play I’ve ever had the privilege to eavesdrop on. 

Learn a few routines and responsibilities.

Standard chores, help with big projects, work for hire. I’ve not been consistent with chores and now sometimes my kids simply walk away from their dinner plate and, OH HECK NO, that’s not going to work for me. Or for them in the long term.

Skills for a happy life.

Cooking nutritious meals, eating outside, watching sunsets, sitting on the porch and enjoying a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Yes, I realize most of those revolve around food. But food is an absolutely GLORIOUS part of life and I want my kids to be able to cook delicious food for themselves one day.

To try new things and challenge ourselves.

Try the climbing gym. Try a slack line. Train for the next Taekwondo tournament. My kids are well out of that window where everything is new and hard and takes so much work to master—remember when we were pumped when our kids learned to walk? I want them to have a chance to be a beginner again. Brave is a muscle. You have to use it to keep it.

Do FUN Things with our tribe.

Meet our friends at the food truck park. Take a small army of moms and kids to the lake. Driveway fireworks party with the neighbors. Family is wonderful, but the family you pick? Those people are magic.

Serve others.

Think of ways to help, surprise, and dish up joy to the friends, family, and even strangers in our lives. Learn how good it feels to do something because you know that someone is going to feel special because of your efforts.

So, maybe this isn’t the big dazzling summer bucket list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post, but I’m looking forward to a summer of spending less; less money, less time on screens, and less time hustling.

And getting more;

More quality time together.
More feeling like I’m helping raise my kids into wonderful adults.
More memories with the people we love.

There is such a huge benefit for kids when families can focus their energy and finances on experiences over things. (Kalli wrote a fantastic post about this around Christmas time. Go read it.)

Other posts you might enjoy…

Planning a Family Vacation? When Should You Begin?

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Family Road Trip

On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

The post Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List appeared first on TodaysMama.

5 Rules I Don’t Enforce In The Summer

It’s time to start thinking about summer rules. Before you know it, school will be out for the summer and it’s important to keep some structure for your kids. But before you start crafting your summer rules, think first about what rules you are willing to throw out the window during the summer break. More and more, our kids are tied to electronics and the indoors. Remember those days of playing in the neighborhood with friends until dark? That doesn’t really happen in American society today, at least not as much. And then there is the summer bucket list (which I think is great). But it’s still a list of things to be checked off. Can you see where I’m going here? I’m all for structure and summer rules but I also think it’s the perfect time for me to lay off a little and see where summer takes us.

 

1. Time for bed

All year long we struggle at bedtime. Get your teeth brushed! Floss your teeth! Get your jammies on! GO TO SLEEP! And it is all in the name of getting your children in bed at a certain hour, sometimes to the minute. If they don’t get enough sleep, they’re going to be cranky. If they don’t fall asleep soon, I’ll go nuts. If I have to get one more thing for them before bed (a snack, a drink, a stuffed animal), I’m going to lose it. Whatever the reason, I take a well-deserved break from the tension-filled bed time routine. I don’t do it every night and I recognize that they still need their sleep but I’m far less tied to a certain time. If we are having fun playing a game, I won’t shut it down all in the name of 8:00 pm. I’m willing to go out somewhere with the kids after dinner and stay out until dark in the quest to enjoy summer.  My kids tire out on their own, are able to wind down and are way more reasonable when we offer flexibility. Many times, if we’ve had a really full day out in the sun, they’re ready for bed at a reasonable time anyway. Somehow getting rid of that specific “bedtime”, we all take it a little easier.

Stay out until dark - Summer Rules

 

2. No treats before dinner

I’m not saying that I completely throw my kids’ nutrition out of the window but I am certainly more willing to allow them to have a treat without worrying that it will ruin a meal. We make frozen treats all summer long. I also stock up on ice cream treats so that when the ice cream truck comes through our neighborhood, they can run to my freezer instead of over-spending on that same treat from the truck. When the kids have been at the pool or have been playing in the sprinklers, it is just a perfect time for a cold treat and if it’s an hour before dinner, I don’t sweat it.

Summer Rules - Frozen Treats

 

3. Homework packets

My kids get an optional homework packet every summer which we promptly discard. Of course I recognize that the summer brain drain is real but summer is a time for my kids to explore learning and reading on their own terms. We visit the library almost weekly and I encourage them to check out non-fiction books along with what they are currently reading. We will often check out books about arts, crafts or science and try a new project or experiment. There isn’t an end to their learning during the summer, I just try to let the kids direct it themselves.

 

4. It’s breakfast/lunch/dinner time

We are so scheduled in our meals during the school year. My son hates breakfast. He has an especially hard time because he has to eat it quickly before school. My daughters had lunch last year at school at 10:50 am. That’s not even close to lunch time. Summer affords us flexibility. My son loves to sleep in and it’s not uncommon for him to have his own little brunch in the summer. The un-rule with meals in summer is to eat when you’re hungry, not when you are scheduled to eat a meal.

 

5. Don’t make a mess

I take a page from my husband and let a mess happen every once in a while with my kids. It seems to make my head explode during the school year to get out the paint or to let them play in the dirt but during the summer, I’m willing to let them get messy, wet, dirty, etc. I keep old towels in my car all summer long just for this reason. When they start wading in the creek, I know that even if I tell them not to get wet, they’re going to end up completely wet and muddy. By preparing ahead of time, I may pretend to put up a little fight but really, I’m just watching them have the time of their lives.

Summer Rules - Get Dirty

 

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The post 5 Rules I Don’t Enforce In The Summer appeared first on TodaysMama.