Umm, my calendar for the month of June looks busier than the rest of the year. How is that possible? The first month of the summer for us has always been full. All of my children celebrate their birthdays in June, not to mention the pick up of the extra summer activities like pools, movies, and anything that will keep them from crying out the words, “I’m bored.”
One luxury of homeschooling is when they spout those words I always respond with, “I’d be happy to get back to school work if you like.” That response usually buys me about two hours before those particular words rise back to the surface. This is honestly one of my favorite times of the year because much can be done when we step back from one of the bigger tasks of the year. There is freedom to move, run, play, and do the things that we don’t get to the rest of the year.
My kids look forward to filling a to-do list with all the things they want to accomplish before we start back to school. Places to go, recipes to try, things to make, and of course a ton of other stuff that can’t even be categorized. A few have become traditions over the years; indoor camping with smores cookies, family night Fridays, and movie theme nights.
There is something about summer, the longer days, the sunshine; it’s a renewed commitment to my people. My commitment to being what they need. For our family it means cooking more meals at home, cuddling under blankets watching movies, reading books, and just talking a little while longer. Summer means friends, less rush, and more rest. It means choosing only the things that fill us up and letting everything else is put to the side for now. It means new rhythms of life.
Here are some tips we use that may help you create a more intentional summer with your family:
Meal Planning: I like planning most of our meals each month (it keeps us on a budget and keeps us eating a bit healthier). Don’t get me wrong there will be ice cream trips and a few fun nights out mixed in, but for the most part, I plan out the meals. The kids love to help share their favorite ideas for dinners and my daughter, and I even scroll through Pinterest for new recipes to try.
Summer Bucket List: We don’t venture far during the school year because we like to finish early in May. So for my kids it is the time to do all the crazy fun things they want to do, places they want to go, the food they want to make, crafts to try, the sky is the limit. I let them each choose things for the list, some are as simple as go out for ice cream, to the more elaborate like making slime (yuck). I also add a few of my own like summer reading and a few other surprises.
Trade off: This year is different from past summers with a book on the horizon and other projects, I still need time to write. They have agreed to trade with me, I give them a fun-filled morning, and they give me time to write in the afternoon. Summer is for Moms too, whatever you may have going on, work, projects, etc. Trading off will work wonders.
Marriage: Don’t neglect your marriage this Summer, whether it is an at-home date after the kids get in bed or a date night out. Make sure to spend time with your main squeeze. Work out special family days when you can and plan the bigger events on weekends or days when you can both be off of work.
Bible Study: Summer is a great time to get serious about your time in the Word, creating family devotional habits and prayer habits. Create patterns that will be easy to transition into the school year as well. (For example, try to make your family devotions during the morning over breakfast or in the evenings so you can continue daily into the fall).
Rest: Be intentional with rest. A few months ago we created a new Sabbath rhythm in our home. Friday afternoons to Saturday evenings or sometimes Saturday afternoons to Sunday evenings. Turn off the social media, put the phones and iPads out of reach and rest. Whatever rest may look like to you and your family, but be serious about your need for rest, your kids will need it to.
Be realistic: Know your limits, what you have time for, don’t make a promise you cannot keep and keep it simple. If you don’t want your summer filled with lots of activities, take them off the list. If you know that meal planning isn’t your thing, then do what is right for you. The best part about creating an intentional season is to know what your intentions are in the first place. If your intentions are to have a slow, quiet summer; make it happen. If you have the intention of filling your summer with fun, laughter, and time with your people; make it happen. Be realistic with your plans.
Join us on Instagram and Facebook @Displayinggrace for tips every day this week about how to create an intentional summer season in each of these areas. Also, share your ideas in the comments below, how are you creating an intentional season for your family?