I see summer as an opportunity for our children to strengthen their independence. I try to put their brains and bodies in control of their summer.
Their adventures should come from their dreams.
Their art/tinkering should come from their own creative souls.
Their taste buds should define what delicious is!
We love using summer as a time to give our children more control of what their days look like. With this freedom comes the growth of responsibility. They’ve learned to work hard for what they want.
Here’s an example: The first week of this summer our three older children requested individual pool parties. They each planned the parties from start to finish. Lists were made, budgets were set, shopping carts were pushed down every aisle, and in the end, cleanup was done. This freed up more time and patience for me to praise the work they were doing, and assist them in areas as needed.
As we’ve thought about what we want our summer to look like, and how we each can grow this summer, we’ve decided to add something new to our summer calendar:
Each child will be given one week to plan what our family will do for that week.
This is similar to what we currently try to do, but with more detail, organization, and opportunity for each child to take accountability for their week.
Here are the goals and plans:
Independence and responsibility
The ultimate parental goal is to teach them to soar independently! It doesn’t mean we are absent - it means we have more time to cheer them on!
Learning planning strategies
Besides the planning that takes place in our family meetings, this will include more one-on-one time with each of our children to help them with their plans.
I’ll be guiding them to look for a balance of fun, food, exercise, and educational.
Each child will be given a budget for their week. This will include any experience that costs money outside of the house. A trip to Target or the dollar store is not an “experience”; that money would have to come from their own budget (see my below “Think out of the box”). Groceries and gas will not be included in their budget, but restaurants or an ice cream stop absolutely would.
Frustration and maybe failure
This. Will. Happen.
In the end, they learn they are capable of more than they even knew. Pushing past the frustrations is how they grow.
Sharing our passions and love with others is something we’ve always found great joy in. I strongly believe it’s an important part of humanity to share our lives with others and spread the joy.
Think out of the box
Money comes from hard work.
Throughout the year we offer allowance for jobs around the house that we consider “thinking out of the box”. For this designated week, the child leading the week will come up with the ideas for jobs around the home and share them with their employees (aka: their siblings). They will then supervise the job and help distribute payment to their employees. Our kids are SO excited about this aspect of their week! The “team meetings” have already been very entertaining!
As with anything, this can be as simple or "simply structured” as you’d like.