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Flying kites with Dad

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.

Planting bean seeds

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.

Ava swinging

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3 Responses to “Tales from a no-plan summer”

  1. 2 ways to give summer a break : The Grove School: A seriously fresh new preschool in Cary and Plano!
    May 14th, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

    […] this week, I wrote about having a no-plan summer. Perhaps that appeals to your family but it isn’t practical. Like if both […]

  2. Share family adventures online with Posterous : The Grove School: A seriously fresh new preschool in Cary and Plano!
    May 19th, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

    […] Aside from the holiday season, summer can feel like the only time in a year to connect with your extended family and friends. But scheduling time to visit everyone is nearly impossible. Especially if long distance travel is required, and time off from work. Soon, you might schedule away your free-time and forfeit your no-plan summer. […]

  3. Neighbor-to-neighbor volunteering helps kids give back : The Grove School: A seriously fresh new preschool in Cary and Plano!
    June 7th, 2010 @ 8:28 am

    […] summer, as we’ve done in my last few posts, is a great time to rethink volunteering too. Collect trash while on a […]

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