And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The days are getting longer… the weather’s warming up…
It’s almost here…!
But rather than crashing head-first into the season we’ve all been waiting for, we’ve got some simple strategies to help you prepare yourself and your family.
Read on for 9 tips for transitioning to summer break with ease:
1. Start with visualization.
Sure, it sounds so simple it’s almost silly. But taking a few moments to close your eyes and picture yourself experiencing summer break is the first step to making it happen.
2. Focus on feelings first.
Before you jump into filling the calendar with activities and events, ask yourself: How do I want to feel this summer? When summer break ends, what emotions do I want to have experienced over the past 3 months?
3. Create a (meaningful) summer break bucket list.
…but not necessarily the kind you find on Pinterest. Those long lists, while fun, actually can create more overwhelm than enjoyment. So, consider how you want to feel this summer (see #2, above), then plan a few experiences to help make that feeling a reality. Enlist your family’s help to create a meaningful list to enjoy together.
4. Don’t overdo the end-of-school celebrations.
Few things are more exciting for kids than the prospect of summer break. And as parents, it’s natural to meet that excitement and up the ante by planning allll the fun things to mark the occasion. But, all that end-of-school celebrating can lead to serious exhaustion for your kiddos. So, play it cool and choose 1 or 2 meaningful ways to celebrate. Remember: The start of summer is fun enough as it is! Not much else is needed for your kids to enjoy it.
5. Have a (loose) plan in mind.
How will your family be spending summer break? It can be helpful to hammer out a few basic pieces of a plan before summer begins: What are our work schedules like this summer? What’s the plan for childcare? Do household responsibilities need adjusting at all? Will mealtimes and bedtimes change? Are there any special trips or other events we can be saving for? By planning ahead, you save yourself the hassle of trying to navigate these questions in real time.
6. …but don’t over-schedule.
As tempting as it can be to maximize every spare minute of free time, it’s important to keep the break in summer break. Some of the sweetest memories are often the simplest. So, let your kids see you setting some limits this summer break. Talk to them about why you’re not signing up for every camp and activity. Leave plenty of room for the unplanned and unexpected delights of the season.
7. Pay attention.
Summer break will be over before you know it. And in a culture that demands so much of our attention all at once, it can be a rare treat to simply sit and focus on the person you’re with or the experience you’re having, and savor it.
8. Give thanks.
When you really start paying attention and savoring summer break, feeling grateful becomes an easy skill to practice. From a quick word of thanks when you wake in the morning, to a gratitude list jotted down privately in your journal, to a conversation around the dinner table about the highlight of everyone’s day, giving thanks is a wonderful way to live summer break to the fullest.
9. Create balance.
Ask yourself: What has life been like since last summer? What word(s) would I use to sum up the past 9 months? Then try to balance your answers with new experiences this summer. For example: Have you been taking yourself a bit too seriously? Aim for more laughter this summer break.
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Ready for summer break?