Make a plan before summer begins to provide fun and learning opportunities. List goals for each aspect to focus on, such as work, social interaction, education, and spiritual growth.
Ask for input on what activities family members consider important and why the pastime is important. Listen. Affirm individual’s desires and values by scheduling time for some of each member’s choices. Encourage passions by seeking new opportunities that develop interests.
Walk around the home and list repairs and projects to do. Consider which ones are affordable and doable over the summer. This can include washing widows, planting a garden, to redecorating a room. Tackle one at a time. Prepare for any special projects, such as painting a room, by purchasing and gathering all the supplies and tools needed.
Be specific about how to do chores. For example, before starting to paint, show a child how to dip the brush, let the excess drip, and then how to stroke the brush up and down. Simplify hard work days with arrangements for easy meals or plans to eat out in celebration of completing the task. Make sure there is an assignment for each family member. If it’s a paint job, are there enough paintbrushes and containers for everyone old enough to paint? Can smaller children make snacks to serve at breaks?
Praise children for jobs well done and efforts. This helps kids feel appreciated and inspires them to keep pitching in. Once one project or activity is completed in a list choose the next one to accomplish.
List skills that need refreshing over the summer, based on report cards. Consider how to best incorporate reading and learning activities into each week. This may include trips to museums or other places that connect to learning. Avoid overloading kids with too many educational outings or school type lessons.
Add in teaching children life skills, such as sewing, cooking, or woodworking. Let some time be spent on learning how to handle money, developing homemaking skills, and using educational games to make learning fun.
List sports and fun activities that children enjoy and plan to play or watch the sport as a family. Create a rainy day box of activities. Plan possible day trips as well as overnight excursions. Keep plans within the family budget and check local papers for free fun. Choose a few for each week. Schedule and mark dates on the calendar so everyone knows to keep the times available.
Discuss which ones will be just for family and what ones could be open for friends to join. Prepare for the fun by gathering supplies needed, such as beach towels and sunscreen, and bagging them up ahead of time to make the days easier.
Write goals for spiritual growth, mission opportunities, or religious camps and programs to attend. Schedule time for praying together and sharing faith. Encourage children to journal. Make plans to use talents to help other people. This may include sorting old clothes and giving them to charity, or helping an elderly neighbor with gardening.
Each weekend, take a few minutes to evaluate progress and plan what activities to mix in for the next week. This will keep the family focused all summer to blend fun, faith, and work for a good balance.
Discuss being a team and strive to balance the elements of a good family team. Let this acrostic be a motto for a fun and productive summer:
● Take time to plan
● Engage in fun and work together
● Affirm one another
● Minister as a family