In Atlanta, summer breaks begin in about a month from now. Summer is not what it used to be. With more parents working, many school systems are going to an almost year around calendar. Your children’s summer break may only be six to eight weeks compared to the three months we had as kids. Yet, those six to eight weeks are a special gift to your family.
If you aren’t careful, summer can quickly become as over scheduled as the school year. Or you may be tempted to send your kids away to camps for the majority of it. Or maybe your family just sort of fritters the days away with no real plan.
Don’t waste this gift of increased time with your kids. Here are some ways to make the most of this summer.
- Pull out your calendar and block out large blocks for family time. Find days and even weeks when at least one parent and the kids aren’t scheduled for anything but family time – then protect those blocks from being taken away from you like a Mamma Bear.
- Make plans for family outings. By family outings, I do not mean the neighborhood swimming pool unless you get in the water and actively play with your children. Outings should be places that encourage you to interact with your kids. Places where you can share what God wants you to share with your kids as you come upon things that remind you of them. Outings where you get to know the hearts of your kids because you have long, deep conversations. Outings where you just enjoy loving each other and being together. Outings where your kids can see God is alive and active in the world today.
- Schedule quiet reflection times. Kids need time to process what they have learned. They need time to think about who they are and who God made them to be. They need time to dream godly dreams for their future. They need time to read their Bibles and pray. They won’t do that if they are running around frantically or on some sort of device. Have a couple of hours of quiet time in the heat of the day. They can have books, art supplies, craft supplies – but no devices. Call it your siesta time and make it quiet and peaceful.
- Have family devotionals. Summer is a great time to start the habit if you don’t already do them. You have more time to get some of those devotional books that include activities. Or find some activity ideas on our Teach One Reach One website. Or have your kids plan and execute the devotionals. Help your kids learn more about what’s in the Bible and why it is crucial information for their lives.
- Serve others as a family (and share your faith while you are there). Whether it’s a mission trip or taking supper to someone in your neighborhood, plan some service projects you do together as a family. Find ways to share about God with the people you serve. Even Christians can use some spiritual encouragement if you are serving them. Put it on your calendar though, or it won’t happen.
It may seem a little early, but planning for your summer will make it an intentional summer. A summer when your kids will really learn about God and how to live a productive Christian life. A summer when you will draw closer as a family. A summer of special memories. It’s worth the time and effort.
P.S. These tips work with any length break your kids have from school!