3 summer secrets

Three secrets to a successful summer

By the time you read this, my children will be done with school for this school year and will be off with their father for their annual dad and kids camping weekend. It seems like just a short time ago we were school shopping and getting ready for the first day of school. Someone once said, “the days are long, but the years are short.” I find that to be especially true when you have lots of littles in the house, scampering about to different activities.

In thinking over the last eleven summers of having children, I came up with some overriding themes of how to make the most of the weeks we have with the kids. Here are my favorite:

Have realistic expectations

With Ryan’s big surgery and recovery last year, I feel like I missed pretty much all of summer. I can feel myself antsy with the anticipation of making up for lost time. I keep reminding myself to lose the expectations and really just be grateful for the easy pace of summer. In the end, it really doesn’t matter how many things we can pack in, but how well we connect with each other.

Sometimes the more we try to pack in, the worse things become. I know for me, I have perfectly laid plans and hopes that everyone will enjoy themselves without considering the reality of personalities and physical needs.

Have you ever noticed how a perfectly planned day at the beach turns into frustration when the kids whine, sand is everywhere and in everything, and everyone is a bit sunburned?

When we idealize people or events, we often times end up disappointed. Being able to prioritize connections over perfection will go a long way to helping us keep our expectations realistic.

Take time to slow down

I am a planner and a doer. To have someone who does both makes for a kind-of crazy type of schedule. The thing that balances me is my need for quiet time to recharge. Otherwise, I would most likely run my family ragged. I challenge all you type-A moms out there to not fear boredom! It is not your job to make the summer one big ball of fun for your family. In fact, you might be surprised to find it’s detrimental to their development!

Studies show that creativity and learning flourish in downtime. Taking walks, playing outside, staring at the walls.. all these things help you and your children recharge and come up with better ideas – and what else is summer for if it’s not for carefree days of lazing in the sun.

Have a plan

On the flip side, idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I know I just told you to slow down and smell the roses, but realistically, there are things you want to see or do this summer and in order to make them happen you need a plan – at least a loose one.

Some people are ultra planners and have everything planned out to the T – – if that’s you, see number two. But if you are the person who hates to be pinned in by commitments, then take a few minutes to write down those things you really, really want to do this summer. It might be finding a new park, trying a couple new burger recipes on the grill, or getting together with friends more often. Then take a look at your calendar and see when you can make it happen. Putting one or two things down (or ten if you’re a planner like me!) can make you feel like you had your summer vacation by the time September rolls around.

Dr. Seuss -how did it get so late

In the past, we’ve had summer bucket lists – you can find some great templates on the interwebs… this year we won’t have one. Between planned visits and our summer sports schedule, we’ll take the rest of the time to chillax in the Burgh. Lots of swimming at the pool, playing in the backyard, and possibly a hike or two with friends.

The one thing I’m trying this summer is a Bored Jar. Inevitably the kids will come to me and say, “I’m bored.” And I’ll say, “I’m not a cruise director.” And then they’ll pout and whine. This summer, I’ll point to the bored jar – – a jar with prewritten ideas of things they can do to get themselves unbored. It will consist of creating (painting, chalk drawing, collage-making, etc), playing/learning (board games {or bored games, snort!}, outside games, charades with siblings, baseball in the yard, reading, etc.), and serving (random acts of kindness for a neighbor, extra chore around the house, baking for family or friends, etc.). There are some great ideas on Pinterest. If this interests you, I’ve given you a great start here.

What are your plans for the summer? Do you have littles at home or is summer the same as winter for you schedule-wise?

Comments (4)

  • Linda Hogeland / June 6, 2016 / Reply

    You are awesome Leighann! I love that you are using your life to encourage other people by being a life coach!
    Is Henry really taking all of the kids camping by himself? How long will they be gone…and what will you be doing while they are gone? Sounds interesting!
    Do keep us up to date on how it goes!
    Love, Linda

  • Becky / September 15, 2016 / Reply

    Hope you are just being “blog quiet” because you have been busy, busy, busy. Missing you

  • Leighann / September 15, 2016 / Reply


    I have been so swamped with kids and life coaching workshops and girl scouts over the last few months!!  I presented my workshop last weekend, Girl Scout camp is this weekend and I hope to be more visible on the blog after that!!  Thanks for checking in. We are all doing great!

    • Jeffra / September 23, 2016 / Reply

      I’m glad you are well. I was getting worried!

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(c) 2016 Leighann Marquiss