I have to admit; I breathed a sigh of relief when my daughter wrapped up preschool for the year.
Although she only attended the three-day program, those three mornings were always action-packed.
Summer has always meant downtime for me. As a child, we packed up and headed to our beach house at the end of June and stayed there right through Labor Day.
And practiced the art of doing absolutely nothing.
Sure, we took swimming, sailing, and tennis classes. We saw a few movies and made a couple of trips to the local library.
But for the most part, we played.
We built sand castles with nothing but a shovel and an active imagination.
We collected sea glass and seashells.
We rode our bikes everywhere and very rarely got in the car.
We ate corn on the cob fresh from the farm stand almost every night.
And we went for long boat rides with our dad, circling Long Island Sound for hours.
We enjoyed every minute of it.
So when preschool came to a close last week, I was ready to just be a family again.
The kids adjusted in an instant.
We spend our days digging in the garden, swinging high enough to reach the sky, and playing games that require no gadgets. We play dress up, fire rescue, and secret spies. We eat popsicles outside and bury our toes in the sand. We snuggle up and read and take walking adventures.
Every day…we just play.
I hear the complaints among the other moms. How can we keep them entertained? How many camps are you doing? Let’s set a weekly play date so that we always have at least one.
On some level, I understand. Parenting is hard work and parents need some busy time as much as kids.
But not me…I love the downtime. I love watching the relationship between my children grow stronger each day. I love when they invite me to play, and I love when they ask me to stand back and watch. I love walking to the park and making new friends. I love trips to the library and reading together.
I love just being a family.
The school year is busy. Between school, sports, classes, parties, and play dates…it’s hard to come up for air.
But summer? This is our time to sit back and just be. To teach our children to create their own fun. And to reassure them that are capable of just being present.
This is our time to teach our children a very important skill: The art of doing absolutely nothing.
Before you fill up those schedules and account for absolutely every minute, remember this: Your children need downtime to relax. And it’s up to you to give it to them.