Next stop – summer
May 27, 2013
by Jenni Sebora

We’re almost there. Destination: our kids’ summer vacation. It seems hardly possible, with the elongated winter that we had, but we are down to counting days and maybe even hours. Last Monday was the last Monday of the school year for my children. They informed me of this.

I have shared this before, but will again reveal that I, too, like summer vacation for my children. It means slow-down mode for our entire family. No more notes, forms to sign, or money needed for this activity or that fee. Slow, lazy days of summer are so welcome. However, the amount and extent of slow and lazy must be cautioned.

I am lucky. I have no children that like to necessarily sleep in until noon or even past eight or nine o’clock. This makes it easier when school starts up again and routines and structure are the norm.

Another positive of summer for my family is the availability of my children to join in more diligently with the fun chores of owning a home. For most days of the summer work days, I have a written list of duties for each of my loving children. I try to mix it up a little each day. A day’s duty may include taking dishes out of the dishwasher, vacuuming the stairs, picking raspberries, and hugging your mother.

They check off their to-do list as they finish their chores. The sooner they complete their chores, the sooner they can go on with what they think is important, such as swimming at the pool, playing volleyball, or hanging out with friends.

Everyone has gained. With this shared responsibility deal, my kids are figuring out that Mom is in a happier mood if she does not have to keep up the household all by herself. Smart. It is also so much fun delegating. (My husband does do his part in chores, too.)

Even though summer is a wonderful time for whimsical and spur-of-the-moment activities, there are benefits for all if there is some activity planning done. It is important to have some activities, camps, etc. planned that will help keep some structure, socialization, fun, and hands-on learning in their days.

My husband and I talked with each of our children about what summer plans may be for each of them. This helps with keeping boredom and budget at bay. Camps and events all cost money, so carefully picking is important.

Summertime also means family getaways for our family, as well as many others.

Whether it is a day trip to a lake, a weekend trip to Duluth, or a longer vacation out of state, family vacations are vital. A reprieve from chores is necessary for everyone – out-of-sight, out-of-mind. I don’t feel guilty about sitting down during the middle of the day and reading my favorite “Little House on the Prairie” book, because the dishes or laundry are not at my disposal. Finally.

Vacations also provide family memories that last a lifetime. Spending time together, laughing, talking, and just plain having fun provides family rejuvenation.

I love the sound of summer already. My youngest daughter is going to church camp and theater class, and is playing softball. My other daughter is signed up for a sports camp and playing softball. My son is taking band lessons – yet another instrument to play – as well as playing soccer.

Some planned activities and many other impromptu activities will be part of the summer agenda – sounds marvelous.

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