It’s here…. School is out which means kids are out of the confines of school. The issue is that most parents still work during the summer. Life still has to happen, right?
If we aren’t careful or intentional, another summer will go by and we’ll look back and wonder what we actually did. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing parts of summer. Kids will always enjoy watching endless hours of TV or gaming, but should it be the norm for their summer? Probably not.
So parents, what can we do during the summer that brings life and intentionality to the summer for our families?
These are a must for each summer. Vacation allows us to get away and disconnect from technology and our “work family” and pour our lives and attention to reconnecting as a family.
To make these times memorable, it doesn’t need to take millions of dollars. It could be just a few hundred dollars.
Road trip it!
Several years in a row, my family and I vacationed in the Smoky Mountains. At the time, we lived in Battle Creek, MI and drove each year. We loved the time on the road together. My wife is an amazing woman and decided to help our budget by packing lunches. We packed a soccer ball and frisbee in the back too. We would find a rest area along the way, stop for an hour get out and stretch our legs and spend more time together as a family. These are some of my favorite memories as a dad.
We stayed in a cabin for a week and planned our meals so that majority of the time we ate at the cabin. We used our weekly grocery budget to supply our food during our week of vacation. We budgeted so that we could also eat out a few times at local restaurants during our vacation. We simply added that amount to our weekly grocery budget while on vacation.
We gave our sons the honor of planning the recreation part of the vacation. We gave them the budget and told them to stay within the budget. They called all the places they wanted to go to and visit. It was great watching them call the attractions and ask cost, if they had any specials and whether the prices were negotiable or not. This gave our sons a real sense of ownership in our vacation.
We found several free activities as well during our vacations.
Weekend Getaways or Staycation
Take half a day on a Friday or Monday and extend your weekend. Plan a movie night or bonfire night. Find a drive in and take your family. Don’t tell your kids you’re going to do this. This will be a great surprise. If you can afford it, book a hotel room for a night or two and get away to a close by city or attraction.
These little surprise weekends display to your kids that they mean something to you! Parents here’s a little secret, as your kids get older you don’t know as much as you used to. They have access to all the knowledge they can ever have with Google searches, social media access etc. We must become intentional at investing in their lives so that when they need guidance during the middle school and high school years, they come to us first. As we invest in their lives during these intentional moments of vacations or staycations and spend time with them, they will continue to look to us for guidance and trust us.
One summer that was abnormally stressful we decided to make South Haven our place. Each Friday (our day off) we spent on the beaches of South Haven, Michigan. We ended each Friday with a cone of ice cream watching the sunset over Lake Michigan. Find a place your family can make their own!
One of the tensions we hold is RE.THINK Church is in the very beginnings of organizational life. We are doing our best to create a church unchurched people would actually want to attend and still keeping our focus on our family. My wife has said this for years, we won’t sacrifice our family on the altar of our church. So we need to find the balance in the early stages of this process. We are planning some getaways and fun times with our sons this summer!
What are your ideas?
How have you invested in your family this summer?