Why We Let Summer Slow Us Down

We have a tendency to value being “busy” too much, don’t we? Life is not a race. It is not a frenzy. It is not a competition. Yet it is too often treated as such. I believe in consistent moderation throughout the year. I also value the specific rhythms that come with each season. If you let them, they each bring their own kind of work and rest.

Some of the time allotted for book work during our school year will be used for activities this summer. Our plan is to provide swim lessons for both boys. Ezra has also requested to try karate. A few lessons of each, for each month of the summer will be the extent of it. While I think it’s great for kids to learn new skills, be active, and connect with new friends; I also think it’s too easy to fall into “overscheduling”.

Kids need time to simply be kids. They need to get bored. They need to use their imagination to fill that boredom. They need to experience LIFE. And real life doesn’t look like a circus of constant stimulation. At least it shouldn’t.

At the start of June, we tuck our school supplies away. Or mostly away…This year, we will keep our kiwi crate subscription going. In addition to being educational, it makes for good indoor fun.

And while I wouldn’t dream of littering his summer break with book work… I also believe that iPad usage should come at a price. We only have a few iPad approved days a week. During the school year if he wants a little iPad time on one of those days, he has to have his school work and chores complete first. For summer, it won’t be quite as much work to earn that time. But he will have to do a writing sheet and finish his chores. Tv time allowances will be slightly more liberal as well. Instead of only be available on the weekends; he can watch something educational for our afternoon “down time”. I feel strongly that screens are too heavily relied upon in parenting today. I believe in balance. I think technology has it’s place. But I refuse to let our children- or ourselves- be consumed with it.

The rest of the our time- the majority of our time- is for free play, time in the sun, dancing to music, reading books, getting our hands dirty, having authentic conversations, going on adventures, cooking real food, and rest.

For us, summer brings the heat of full sun and the downpour of thunderstorms in the afternoon. It tells us very clearly that there is time to play, time to work, and time to find shade or shelter. Each season brings it’s own special rhythm. And though at first glance, Summer can seem like a constantly revolving carousel of activity and travel. If you listen very carefully, you can hear it telling you to slow down.