Summer’s coming. For me, that used to inspire anxiety. Because balancing work, children’s activities and family trips felt impossible. Plus the pace was exhausting.
Then I read an article by news columnist Danny Westneat about the summer that his family didn’t schedule anything. What a compelling idea! Last summer, my family gave it a try. No camps. No lessons. No major plans. In their place: ample room for spontaneity, relaxation and time to bond.
My daughter had nothing to do but be a kid. She spent days with my husband (a teacher with summers off) at local parks and riding bikes. She played with neighborhood friends. She watched ants travel the cracks in our sidewalk. I was in our garden, often with my daughter right beside me. And we learned together about planting flowers and food.
As a family, we savored slower-paced weekends, with time to witness the daily rhythm of our neighborhood. And we took a few ad-lib camping trips. It was all wonderful.
The positive results were immediately clear. My husband and I found that our focus was more on our daughter. Not on the logistics of the next event. She got the opportunity to practice unexpected skills, like nurturing the planet, relationship building and creative play. We all felt energized and close.
What we learned: We were happier because we were deliberate about planning our summer experience.
Do you have stories of a no-plan summer? Be sure to share them in the Comments section below. And check back for more summer-related posts throughout May.