“As you look at your summer calendar, make sure there are days on the calendar where there is nothing planned. There should be ‘blank space’ on those days.”
Striking a balance between being super busy and doing nothing over the summer can often be difficult for families. Hopefully in the process of communicating expectations for the family a good rhythm can unfold between busyness and rest.
Lots of kids, as well as parents, come to the end of the school year completely exhausted. Sometimes a period is needed for everyone to rest and rejuvenate before launching fully into busy summer mode. But the reality of family life today is often that both parents are working, and therefore kids need to move quickly from school into summer activities.
Depending on your household, you may have characteristics that help you go about finding the right rhythm. But here are a few suggestions that I have found to be helpful:
Create “Blank Space”
As you look at your summer calendar, make sure there are days on the calendar where there is nothing planned. There should be “blank space” on those days. In our busy world, it’s important to have days where kids and parents don’t have something to do. These days allow households to be spontaneous and creative in the absence of planned activity. I recommending purchasing a large white board calendar if you don’t have one, or drawing a calendar on a white board. Capture all the planned activities on the calendar, which will give you a visual picture of whether the “blank space” is being honored.
Observe a Sabbath
Whether the day falls on Sunday or another day of the week, we need to have one day when nothing gets accomplished. Sabbath reminds us that our relationship with God is not about what we can do for God, but that we are God’s children and can rest in our relationship with him.
If you do something on your Sabbath, stick to activities that are life-giving and that remind or point family members towards their relationship with God. I like how Eugene Peterson talks about the Sabbath pattern he and his wife created for most of their life in pastoral ministry. Every Monday they would take off and hike for most of the entire morning in silence, then gather to eat lunch together and reflect upon what they had seen. Your family can create your own Sabbath rituals—including time to play and time to pray.
Read more of The Best Family Summer Ever: Ideas to Help Families Connect Before Summer Slips Away by Rhett Smith, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in private practice at Auxano Counseling in Plano, TX. Learn more ideas like this at Sticky Faith from the Fuller Youth Institute.
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