I am so excited to be part of the second annual School’s Out blog hop. Tons of bloggers are getting together to share their top 10 learning activities to keep your child’s mind stay active this summer. Learning doesn’t have to just mean reading, writing and arithmetic. I am a firm believer in life long learning and building connections to activate the brain. This was a big year with lots of changes in our family, so I have decided that one of my biggest goals this summer is to build family connections.
It seems that there is always this hustle and bustle, this hum surrounding learning. Hurry to learn to read, hurry to learn how to add and subtract, hurry to learn how to pass a test. How often to do we all just emphasize learning to be a family. Unfortunately, being a family doesn’t always come naturally. If you are a regular here, you are aware that we definitely aren’t the picture perfect family and have had some struggles along the way. That’s why I decided to make a list of 10 ways I was going to build our family connections this summer.
I am making a vow to slow down and focus on learning to be family. I want to learn to enjoy and appreciate my moments with my children. I want to learn how to be a family of life long learners. I want to learn more about my children’s wants, desires and aspirations. I want to learn how to be there for my children and live in the moment. Most of all, I want to learn to cherish them and build positive connections that will be the foundation for our family.
Have a Conversation
I vow to talk more with my children.
Not just talking to them or at them, but talking with them. I want to make an effort to listen to them, respond to them and be present enough to hear what they are saying. I want to make an effort to move beyond one word answers and build our conversations. I plan to carve out time to give each child their own attention and talk about what they want to talk about. I plan to sit as an entire family and problem solve with family meetings.
I vow to play with my children.
I am guilty of getting too busy to sit and truly play with my children. During the hustle and bustle, their play time is my time to get the laundry folded, make dinner or sometimes just take a breather. This summer, I want to be conscious to play more. I plan to rough house with them, tickle them and play a good old fashioned game of hide and go seek. When things start to get tense or frustrating, I am going to try to remember to use games as a way to help my children manage their feelings and frustrations.
I vow to be silly and fun.
Life can be so serious. Whether its sensory meltdowns or dealing with Mr. X, life tends to get a little stressful in our home. Some days I think you can cut the tension with a knife. This summer, I want to loosen up. I want to help my children learn to be silly, embrace the silly, and know that I can be silly too! This summer, its time to take a break from serious. Its time to sing like an opera singer, make silly faces, or maybe even surprise my kids by joining in on their games of jinx and knock knock jokes. I want to laugh more and who better to teach me that, than my kids.
Make Special Memories
I vow to cherish the little moments and turn them into memories.
I’m not talking about taking an elaborate trip, buying them a special summer experience, or even planning an elaborate day of events. Nope. I just want to spend this summer building memories of feeling connected as a family. Maybe we will have a dance party in the kitchen or have an impromptu picnic in the trunk. Maybe we will build a fort and sleep in the living room. Maybe we will camp in the backyard or maybe we will just cuddle and laugh together. Whatever we choose to be, I want to make an effort to make the small moments the big memories. I want to look back at the end of the summer and say “I remember connecting with my family”.
Say “Yes” More
I vow to say “Yes” more.
Okay, this is a hard one for me. Its something we talk about a lot in our house, since the book “Yes Day” is one of their favorite books. Legoman seems to think in extremes, so for him “Yes Day” might be a day filled with ice cream all day, a trip to Chucky Cheese and Legoland (in the same day), or buying the Lego set he has always wanted. However, it really hit home when the boys started beginning their questions with “You are problably going to say NO, but….” While, it is going to be hard to let go and plan a “Yes” Day, I think I can do it. Who knows maybe I can turn this into a “Yes Summer” instead of just a single day.
I vow to be present more, look up more, and spend more time with my children than my computer.
In my line of work it really is hard to remember to take it slow and unplug. I have found that, while we don’t watch much television or play many video games, we do use our computers and phones a lot! This past week, Super B broke my phone and I have had to use a phone that is only equipped with the capabilities to make phone calls and text. I can’t tell you how this has made me realize just how much I was dependent on the phone, how often I was using it to “work” the day, and miss out on connecting with my kids. This summer I plan to not just plan a few Screen Free Days, but plan a few UNPLUGGED days as well. Goodbye electronics, hello family.
Try Something New
I vow to experience new things.
As adults, we tend to forget that feeling of amazement when something is new to us. Just watch a one year old for a few minutes and you will realize how exciting it can be to experience something for the first time. I don’t just want to be a bystander while I plan these new experiences for my children this summer. This summer I plan to find something I have never tried. Maybe it will be a new food, a new book, or a new science experiments. Maybe, as a family we can even make a plan to perform random acts of kindness. Whatever we choose, I want to connect with my children through new experiences and slow down enough to notice and cherish their reactions.
Make Something Yummy
I vow to cook with my children more.
In our house, we used to cook together all the time. My boys love helping in the kitchen and creating new dishes with me. This summer, I want to get back to cooking and exploring in the kitchen with the kids. I want to wake up early and make pancakes, try a new recipe, and maybe even create our own creations. For me, the kitchen is a place to explore, have conversations, and connect!
I vow to read with, to and around my kids.
If you know me, you know that I love the idea of reading. I love teaching children to read and I love developing the love of reading. However, I am not a reader myself. This summer, I want to take the time to read WITH my children. I want to read a book I like as a way to model that love for reading. Maybe we will curl up outside on a blanket and have a read-a-thon or maybe we will make a library date . I want to teach my kids to love reading. So, not only will I encourage my children to read, I will take the time to slow down and read TO them. I miss curling up with a good chapter book and reading it with the boys. This summer, I will make the time for a good night story and for books to take a front row seat in our summer.
I vow to explore the world with my children.
This doesn’t have to be expensive, but the truth is that travel brings you closer together. Whether you are stuck in a car or on a plane, you are forced to work together and connect. This summer, I want to make a plan to travel more. Maybe we will save and splurge for a frugal vacation, maybe we will travel to another city or state, or maybe we will virtually travel across the world. Whatever we choose, I plan to make exploring a part of our summer and a way to connect with my family.
How will you connect with your family this summer?
Looking for More Summer Ideas for Family Connections
25 Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids | Dirt and Boogers
Be sure to hop on over to see all the other bloggers participating in our School’s Out! Top 10 Blog Hop! Click here or on the image below.