Remember those summer weekends when you were a kid? You know, the ones where you would spend your afternoons drinking from the garden hose, chasing down the ice cream man, exploring the neighbourhood on your bike, and playing hide and go seek until the street lights came on and you had to go home. Those were some of the BEST days, weren’t they? No strict rules, no screens…no schedule.
Those lazy, hazy summer days we remember from our childhood are not only full of great memories – but also great reminders that those precious summer weekends with your kids don’t have to be packed full of special events and expensive outings. In fact, some of my favourite summer weekends with our boys have been the ones where we have no plans, we hang out around the house, and we just make it up as we go.
It could mean a Saturday morning watching them play in the sandbox while we have our morning coffee and tea. It could be an afternoon spent running through the sprinkler with the neighbours, playing catch and then going for ice cream. It could even be an evening bike ride followed by roasting hot dogs and marshmallows around the campfire in the backyard before going to bed way past bedtime. I mean, it is summer after all.
I know a lot has changed over the years, but one thing hasn’t; kids. Sometimes it probably seems impossible to keep them entertained all summer, but kids really do love the simple things in life. Sure, they love going to the zoo, to a Jays game, or to a waterpark. But if your kids are anything like mine, they would be just as happy spending their summer in the backyard exploring, driving their cars in the dirt, using their imaginations, and just being…kids.
Think back to your fondest summer memories for a minute. What comes to mind?
For me, it’s bare feet, popsicles, bike riding, and running! It’s catching caterpillars, exploring, and getting dirty! It’s my Dad spraying us with the hose while my brother and I ran around the yard laughing and squealing, then going for a family Sunday drive to get ice cream. Back then, there were less screens, less worry, and more family time. It was simple.
I read a quote online that said… “Be the person you needed when you were younger”, and it really made me think. When I was a kid, what did I want? What did I need? If I could answer that, then I probably had a pretty good idea what my kids want and need. All I could remember wanting when I was a kid was to play with my parents, make them proud, and just be a kid. Pretty simple, right? When I thought about it that way, it made me realize that’s probably all my kids want too. In fact, this is a recent conversation I had with my 7-year-old…
HIM: Mommy, I don’t want to go to camp this summer.
ME: Why’s that? I thought you had fun the couple weeks you went last summer?
HIM: I did, but…I just want to stay home with you and Daddy and have family time.
It melted me. When they say things like that, you seriously realize how little kids actually need to be happy and healthy. I think as parents, we stress too much over making sure our kids have something to do, someone to play with, someplace to be! And we don’t need to.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan some fun trips this summer as a family. Trust me, I LOVE making memories with my kids doing special outings and taking them to new places. I’m just saying that not EVERY weekend needs to be scheduled for your kids. Not every weekend needs to be planned from morning until night. Sit back. Relax. Enjoy the summer!
Sometimes, the best summer plans you can make for your kids…is to make no plans at all.