It happens every summer.
After nine months of full, over-packed schedules, every member of my family —from the oldest to the youngest — is ready for a break from school, work, homework, and extracurriculars.
Even more than putting aside our regular routine, we’re eager to add warmer temps and sunshine to our days. When my two oldest boys were still toddlers, I nearly considered it a holiday when we FINALLY packed away their winter gear and went shopping for new windbreakers. The official start of summer may have still been a few weeks away, but we were getting so close to days at the pool that I could almost feel my toes getting tanned.
And so we fully embrace June and the weeks ahead loaded with expectations for rest, relaxation, and a chance to recharge. Our annual family vacation is planned and we're ready to experience summertime, when, as the classic song goes, the livin’ is easy.
And then comes the reality check.
As it turns out, kids still need lots of attention and the garbage isn’t going to take out itself. With older kids, there are camps to deliver them to and orthodontists to visit all while deciding when there will be time to mow the lawn. And that wonderful vacation on the calendar? That’s going to require a lot of advance planning and packing.
So much for the livin’ being easy.
I’m not dogging on summer – it’s still my favorite time of year. But each June I have to take stock of the expectations I’ve piled up during the winter months and decide what’s realistic versus overly idealistic.
Usually, the same thread weaves through each one: I’m looking for opportunities for my family to press pause together. It’s an expectation worth pursuing.
This summer, my family is committing to less screen time. We even drew up a contract that all four kids and both adults signed. It isn’t realistic for us to think we can eliminate it altogether, but we’re learning that pausing together doesn’t just happen — it has to be intentional.
We’re also learning that pausing together for small pockets of time is more realistic. My oldest son figured out pretty quickly that if he asks me to play catch with him for 10 minutes, I’ll say yes, but if he asks for 60, I’ll have to pass. (Hey, supper still needs to get on the table!) Interestingly, those initial 10 minutes do very often bleed into 15 or 20 and tend to attract the rest of the family as well.
At Literaseeds, we think the best way to press pause together is around a great book. When everyone's worn out from hours at the pool or sidewalk tricycle races, it's a nice break in the action to sit with a book and enjoy a few moments of stillness and relaxation.
And that’s an expectation you can live up to.
What's something you're expecting or hoping for this summer? Take a moment to share with us.
If you're looking for an easy way to get started on your own summer tradition, the Simple Seeds collection has everything you need to get started: great, age-appropriate books, practical encouragement, and beautiful reminders.