For the past decade or so our summers have included:
- time at the swimming pool, often with friends
- summer camps, definitely Acting for Young People and often others as well
- travel – to see family, to visit new places, day trips and longer trips
This summer has none of the above. Some pools in our area are open but the limitations, that I believe are smart, mean that the pool wouldn’t likely offer us what we want from it. Acting for Young People, as well as many other camps, are happening virtually. My kids weren’t interested in that option. We’re unwilling to fly, which would be necessary to see some of our family. Family we could drive to see is being smart about isolating so we’re sticking with video calls for now. We did arrange a couple of two-night AirBnB’s for July and August to get out of our house for a bit.
The end result is that the kids (16 and 13) and I have lots of time on our hands and not too many options about what to do with it. Given the routines I noticed during the online school period I anticipated that our summer break would mostly consist of sleeping at any hour and watching lots of TikTok videos if I let it. I have no interest in controlling my kids’ lives, but I do want them to be useful to the family and to do some things that I think are important to their physical and mental health.
So, to keep some sense of normalcy, weekends are still weekends. Other than helping with chores, they are free.
Monday through Friday, we each (the two kids and I) have a checklist. It includes doing a chore, some kind of exercise (we’ve been doing 7 minute work outs together), a random act of kindness (we brainstormed a list of possibilities together last week), some time reading, some time writing, and some work on a big summer goal (they picked their own big summer goals, such as learning to sew, creating some artwork). We won’t manage to do every single thing every single day and I’m okay with that. It’s giving us some sort of focus while leaving us plenty of time to do whatever we want.