Hello Everyone and welcome to the May 2023 Nap Times.May has been a doozy for me this year and I know many of you are feeling it too. For that reason, I have decided to recycle/update an older newsletter topic in hopes that is helps you in thinking through your own summer rhythms.
I am also adding a short short section at the bottom of a few “SUMMER ADULTING SKILLS” we are going to help the kids with memorizing/doing this summer. Feel free to adapt any that could help your kids!
Let's begin with what I mean by “seeing summer as a season”
This is twofold, and both ways of viewing it are extremely helpful for me. First off, summer is one of four seasons. We tend to put a lot of pressure on it, but I think when I remember that it's one of four, the pressure really comes off. Think about it: fall has its own set of expectations…then we head into the holidays. There are things to look forward to and plan in every season. If this summer isn't perfect and doesn't live up to everything you wanted it to, there's three more seasons to come, and then it's summer again!
Secondly, one of the most helpful things I have done to enjoy the summer with my kids is to name the season of life we are in for that particular summer.
Maybe you have a newborn at home.
Maybe all your kids are five and older.
Maybe you're an empty nester for the first time.
Maybe summer camps are in full swing for you.
Maybe you have multiple vacations lined up and therefore the time spent at home will feel really restful.
Maybe you have no vacations lined up and the time at home already feels suffocating.
Whatever it may be for you, naming your season can really help you to practically think of ways to not only survive, but enjoy your summer.
Let's do me as an example:
1. I have four kids that are all walking, talking, and eating people food. Three can make it the whole day without a nap.
2. Three of my four can swim; one cannot.
3. We have a multiple summer trips planned, and a few morning summer camps.
4. Two of the four are in full-day school, so we have friends that we don't see often anymore since the kids are at different schools.
What are likely some stressful options?
-Taking the kids to the pool by myself would likely be ok. It's contained and most can swim. However, taking the kids to the beach by myself would be very difficult. Two want to go out into the ocean, and one needs constant watching so she won't wander off.
-Multiple days in a row spent at home. We all love a rest day, but since three of the four don't need a nap, the days can feel long if we don't have any activities.
What are some good options for us?
-Going to the pool with friends, especially friends we don't see as often because they are at a different school!
-Going to the library. It won't interfere with naps and there's air conditioning!
-Going to a trampoline type jump place or museum to get out some energy.
-Meeting friends for a morning and picnic at the park.
-Going to a coffee shop or restaurant with some outdoor space. This is a major win for us because mom gets a coffee and a break from preparing a meal, and the kids get a nice change of scenery. Bonus if a friend and her kids go with us!
What are some things we can prioritize?
-Since my kids are older and more able to do things like crafts, we can prioritize getting some creative items for our time at home in the afternoon. Beads, things to use with the hot glue gun, refilling the art cart.
-Since they love an outing, we can make a list of some good outdoor food places, get a summer membership to a pool or the trampoline park, and prioritize getting out in the morning and doing something before Alberta's nap.
-I am also prioritizing getting the kids in the kitchen. For this reason, I will likely take more time to cook our meals and ask for their help in the prep. We will also start watching Kids British Bake Off at night – this show always inspires them!
After thinking about the above questions, I decided my word for the summer would be ENJOY. Now that Alberta is out of the two nap, we are going to have more freedom to get out and do things again. We are not tied down to any schedule! I want us to simply enjoy the time we have together. Enjoy slower mornings, outings as a family, and not being rushed. I sincerely want to enjoy the kids this summer, and teach them to enjoy each other; they are all in differing levels of school next year and this few months feels like a gift for me, and also for them as siblings.
Going along with that, one other thing I plan to prioritize this summer is MARGIN. I know for so many the fall brings busy schedules and lots of activity. I want to really soak up the margin we have right now. The hour between activities with no plans and no place to be. I want to purposely schedule in time for us to slow down. I want to buy more foods that require me to chop them as opposed to buying pre-chopped. I want to remember to water the plants. I want to bake cookies from scratch with the kids and relish the time together instead of hurrying us along to the next thing.
Some of you might have a new baby, and so for you this is the summer of being home. It's a summer where you are going to be dog tired. So maybe, you prioritize getting some good water activities for your backyard, arts and crafts for the kids to do at the kitchen table, and a dedicated time each day where the baby naps, toddlers watch a show, and mom takes an hour to rest and drink an iced coffee. Heck, maybe you make Starbucks runs a part of the budget for this summer!
Some of you might be tasting freedom for the first time in a while. This summer might be chock full of travel plans and summer camps. If so, maybe home simply needs to be a soft place to land and recoup. Maybe we declare every Tuesday and Friday movie night. Maybe you take a weekly trip to the library to stock up on books and make a reading nook out of pillows in the kids' playroom.
Either way, please don't miss out on this:
Summer is simply one season of four in a year. This is also just one summer of, Lord willing, many you will enjoy. Your kids will not be doomed if there are reasons this summer has to be slower. Boredom is not a sin. The weight of the world does not hinge on June-August.
Your summer might involve a whole lot of this…
or a whole lot of this…
Hopefully, what you see here is that when you lean into the season you are in, instead of forcing yourself to mold to what you believe summer should be, you can find a lot of joy and freedom. You can have a summer that serves you instead of leaving you frustrated.
Need some practical application?
Take a little time and ask yourself:
What season of life are we currently in?
What would likely be stressful for us this summer?
What are some good options for us? What can we prioritize?
Are there some changes we should make around the house in order for our house to better serve us this summer?
I hope you found this way of thinking helpful, and that as you think about your own season of life this summer, you get excited!
If you are looking for a tangible way to create a routine/schedule that your kids can look to, I have a blog post for you! I cannot tell you how helpful it is for my kids to have a visual of what to expect in a day. It honestly helps me a ton too. I am also including an example of the one we currently use if you just want to use mine!
The following are some things I want to be sure my older three (ages 7, 6, and 4) can do.
Learn my number and dial it on a phone
Learn Nate's number and dial it on a phone
Tie their shoes
Make an emergency call from a locked cell phone
Load the washing machine
Know what to do in the event of a fire
One more thing: NTK Summer Break!
I am going to be taking some extended time off this summer and have some amazing guest writers lined up for The Nap Times! I wanted to bring in some people who are experts in categories I think many of us struggle in. I cannot wait for you to read them this June, July, and August!
That's all I have for you this month. Thanks for reading!