Making meaningful memories is one of the best parts of summer. How are you doing during this season? Have you been able to create memorable moments together? Connected Families consists of people like you, moms and dads who want what’s best for their families, no matter the time of year. As you feel summer slipping away we wanted to share some encouragement for our readers.
We don’t have all the answers, but we are working or have worked through many of the same issues you struggle with in your homes. We thought it would be fun to share some of the personal applications of summer rules, great memories, and intentional parenting that we are aiming for as parents ourselves. Some of the ideas may work for you, some may not. Regardless, we’d love to hear how things are going in your family this summer!
We asked some of our staff to relay some of their thoughts and challenges that come with summertime and kids.
Here’s what they had to say:
One Idea for TV Time:
Can you share a great memory of having kids home for the summer?
Chad Hayenga, Associate Director of Church Partnerships, Speaker and Coach explained:
Summers were a significant change of pace for our family. A rut we quickly noticed was the tendency of our kids to do the easiest, least stimulating activity possible; watch TV.
After a couple frustrating discussions that ended in shaming and high emotions a decision was made: the TV was going away for the summer. We worked to replace screens with other interactive options, while being sensitive to the need for some down time for our introverted child.
One week after putting the TV in the closet, a new peace and calm enveloped our home. Our kids discovered the joy of being outside playing, new book series and using their imagination.
By far the best summer time decision we ever made. We didn’t do this every summer, but it worked for us for a time, and we don’t regret it.
Making Memories out of the Simple Things:
What do you want your kids to remember about summer growing up?
Anna Braasch, Executive Director says:
My kids are now 11 and 13. When they are 19 and 21 I can imagine them looking back on their childhood summers and remembering three major themes from summer to summer:
- Their mom trying desperately to put some type of structure into their days with daily chores, daily reading, and daily workbooks.(Hopefully, they remember that I did it all out of love!!) And all the ridiculous energy-sucking strategies to make them want to do these things rather than being told to.
- The simple things like a quick bike ride to DQ, or playing with the neighborhood kids in the woods or the creek.
- The big yearly vacation to go the family cabin in Washington state and spending loads of time with cousins, swimming 8+ hours a day.
Intentional Vacation Time:
Can you tell us about a recent summer adventure you have been on?
Stacy Bellward, Online Course Moderator, told us:
We have been tent camping like crazy the last few weeks….and went on our first mission trip with the kids! Fun. My daughters had to learn how to set up a tent without the help of their dad, who would be home while the girls and I went on the mission trip. Let me tell you, it was an experience and I learned a lot! I had to apply lots of things I learned in the Sibling Course to help my girls work through issues like conflict resolution (the tent wasn’t easy to put up and was fragile!) and supporting one another.
The trip was a success!! But even more thrilling for me was that my daughters learned to rely on each other and enjoy the process of helping each other. It just took a little patience from me.
Practical Ideas to Get Kids Outside:
What are your best memories/worst memories of summer break with kids at home:
Jim Jackson, co-founder of Connected Families:
Our best summer happened when we decided to send the kids outside when they were early teenagers (ages 11-15). We gave our oldest the scrap wood from our deck rebuilding project and he built an amazing tree fort that became a gathering place for friends. We gave our kids a camcorder with this understanding: Use it to build your community and to be a blessing to others. They scripted and made a movie with 6 – 8 close friends. They made videos of each other. And they involved neighbor kids and even made a “star” out of a particularly discouraged boy.
One time things didn’t work, but we learned some good lessons:
Camping in the rain and horrible mosquitoes sent our sensory kids through the roof and into conflict of all kinds. It probably sharpened us for the future, but taxed us. Want to read that story? Click here.
Any other advice?
Lynne Jackson, co-founder, agrees with Jim and adds:
Send kids outside and let them play. Unsupervised. There is a myth that the world is more dangerous than ever for kids. The truth is – it’s SAFER than ever. The immediacy of the media has us more scared than ever, but crime on nearly every front is down compared to 10, 20, even 30 years ago! That’s right – it’s at least as safe to send your kids outside unsupervised today as it was in the 60’s!
Check out JM Cremps. It is called “An Adventure Store for Boys,” but really , it is for any kid, girl or boy who loves the outdoors and who is adventurous.
The bottom line is, along with the usual chaos, summer can be a time where families grow closer and create meaningful memories that will last a lifetime. One day, as a family, you will all look back with fondness on the summertime challenges as well as the successes. In the meantime, Connected Families has your back. We want to journey with you. Comment below with some of your own thoughts and strategies.
Enjoy the next few weeks!
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