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Envision A Streamlined Summer For Your Children

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Envision A Streamlined Summer For Your Children

I never envisioned becoming the type of parent who would fill every moment of their children’s lives with back-to-back engagements, shuttling them from one pursuit to the next after already taxing school days. I convinced myself that youngsters didn’t require extra enrichment—life in itself is plentiful. Naturally, there’s some accuracy to this notion; however, similar to other aspects of childrearing, my perspective shifted once faced with the realities of nurturing a child of my own.

Our journey began with an infant music class that offered a sense of belonging in those initial stages. My daughter’s budding interest in kinetics led us to incorporate a dance class into our routine, held in the very studio where I indulged in the art as a young adult. To dance upon those familiar resilient floors with my offspring was to revisit and share a fragment of my own story. By the age of 2, dissatisfied with the scarce offerings of Spanish classes in our vicinity, I donned my educator’s cap and, with the assistance of our babysitter at the time, I devised a Spanish curriculum for her. Our weeks began to burgeon with activities.

Come school time, we found ourselves embroiled in the very type of hectic schedule I had aimed to avoid—my daughter’s budding interests had led us to add gymnastics without subtracting any existing commitments. Suddenly I had become the very parent I had not anticipated being—one who doles out a snack bar en route to the next class. Nevertheless, my daughter thrives in all her classes. She, much like me, is a whirlwind of activity, busting with vivacious energy and a plethora of interests. Recall my initiative to create a class when none was available? She possesses that very same fervor in her everyday life.

Embracing Leisure During Summertime

The truth remains that downtime is vital for everyone. We require moments for our thoughts to meander, to experience ennui that sparks creativity. We need intervals of relaxation and shared experiences without a set purpose—not solely for recuperation or to prepare for a return to our hectic routines, but because it’s in these tranquil periods that we truly acquaint ourselves with our own identity and those around us. While I attempt to integrate free time during the week, it seems to evade us amidst social gatherings and celebratory events during the school term. For us, summer brings simplicity. It’s when we can genuinely take things slow.

Opting for Unplanned Days Over a Packed Calendar

My spouse and I are immensely grateful to have both our parents residing just a short commute away, and we genuinely cherish their company. Since the arrival of our offspring, we’ve divvied up the summer among their abodes, affording our children extended periods to deepen bonds with their grandparents. We relish the change in environment—my parents’ proximity to the shoreline, his within pastoral settings—and the extra support in childcare while our work persists.

Apart from a single week of swimming lessons, I’ve purposely left our kids’ summers devoid of formal arrangements. That’s always been my approach. Thanks to our work flexibility and the aid of grandparents, we don’t rely on summer programs as childcare. Thus, our days unfold at a languid pace.

Last summer was filled with simple joys—connection with cousins, aquatic play, romps and tumbles on grassy knolls, grand bubble creations, sculpting sand fortresses, and indulging in a plethora of frozen treats. My eldest became proficient in jump rope. We ventured into shared stories and sketches. Playdates with dear friends were sprinkled here and there. Bedtimes gradually extended. The repetition of those days somehow made my recollection of the previous summer more tangible with heightened sensations—more vivid in hues, richer in textures, and aromatic.

Resisting the Urge to Occupy Every Moment

My eldest aspires to horseback riding this summer. I momentarily flirted with the idea of enrolling her in a camp. Perhaps one day I may succumb. I wouldn’t be the first instance where parenting has led me to reconsider my stance. For now, a pony ride at the local fair will suffice. It may not impart equestrian skills, familiarity with equine care, or instill resilience. Yet, I hold onto the hope that she’ll treasure the experience as a moment of sheer delight.

As we edge back into city life when autumn approaches, with whispers of cooler temps in the air, the desire to immerse ourselves in urban offerings will beckon. I’ll wrestle with the activation of our bustling lifestyle. In those moments, I’ll strive to recall that simplicity and unstructured time are as constructive as any organized class we could enroll in. Maybe this season I’ll manage to keep our itinerary open and stow away fewer snack bars in my handbag.

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