Summer. What does that mean for you? For some it is a time to rest, getting caught up on that never ending list, and spending quality time with family. Well, at least that is what we all hope for. You know there is something about the summer season when people hope for time to slow down, allow for rest, and things to get reset. Before I became the Elementary Children’s Director at our church, I was a teacher for seven years, and summer was just that, a time for rest while the rest of the year was non-stop.
Now, I have a glimpse of what working parents deal with during the summer. The pace doesn’t slow down, just the mindset of some people may shift. When I say mindset you know what I am talking about - the vacation mindset, beach mode, I am off. For my family this summer is bringing big changes. We are closing the chapter on being a family of three and starting our new chapter to becoming a family of four. Therefore, this summer I am trying to dedicate quality time with my daughter while I am still a working parent. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do have some key points that are working for us.
Set a Work Schedule and Stick to It
In order to have the quality time that you may want with your children during the summer, you will have to set a work schedule and plan accordingly. Do you have the ability in the summer to work from home on some days? If so, do it! Determine the hours needed to work throughout the week and plan ahead.
For me, I have set office hours work and then work from home the remainder of the time. For those who may not be able to work from home, you may ask if you can adjust your hours each day for the summer in order to have a little more time at home. Think about this: if you got to work one hour earlier and stayed one hour later four days a week, you would have an extra day. Again if that is an option, try to make it happen. Planning out your schedule is going to ensure that your work will get completed but will also allow for you to focus on family time not during those scheduled hours.
Some of you read my first point and probably laughed out loud, “Must be nice to set your own schedule.” This would be where being intentional will come into play. Whether or not you have a schedule set for you or you have some flexibility, being intentional is key. Just like in any situation, being intentional is going to make the plan work for your benefit. Spending quality time with your children this summer must be intentional. Guess what? We all need to tell our time what to do, or it will tell us what to do. In a quick blink, our children are back at school, and we missed out.
To be intentional means to get off of your phone, close out social media, and be present with your children. Spending intentional quality time with your children doesn’t mean that you need to spend money or be with them every second. Play a board game, play outside in a sprinkler or with water balloons, go to the park, play dress up, make cookies or fruit popsicles together. Allow your children to show you what being young again is like. Being young again brings me to my last point.
This is challenging for me. I like to be in control and not let go. I believe it's difficult for most of us adults to use our imaginations and simply have fun. When I think of having fun with my daughter I also think of the mess that will be made. I like order, and, in times of fun, I have to breathe through the mess and find the joy in the moment.
Seeing my daughter smile and laugh provides me with joy that cannot be explained. Let your children see you smile, let loose, and have fun. Get involved with your children when they play this summer, be a kid again yourself, and truly have fun.