Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Creating a Summer that Rocks, Part 3!

Four weeks and counting! Last week we talked about the advantages of planning organized activities in advance. Today our topic is the need for downtime during the summer. The two – planning and down time – are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is great to plan down time.

It is inspiring to have activities over the summer. It is exhausting to be over-scheduled. Do you remember reading over the summer for as long as you wanted and then talking with your friends on the phone about the book? Did you get together with friends with an open day before you, decide what you were going to do and then play baseball, go swimming, write a play and perform it, or bake cookies and sell them? Having that flow of free time is wonderful. It is a terrific time for creativity.

In his book The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, Dr. Edward M. Hallowell identifies five things needed in childhood to become a happy adult. One of those five things is play. He means the kind of play with flow – the kind of play where it is about the journey not the destination. This is the kind of play that happens during down time.

As you plan your summer, provide gaps for down time. Large gaps! If your children claim boredom, leave them with the responsibility for how they handle their time. When you hear, “Mom, I’m bored” reply, “What are you going to do so you are not bored?” Here is where the creativity begins.

Summer Suggestion #3: Consciously create balance over your summer so that your children experience the advantages of down time.

For more ideas for creating a cooperative and connected summer, please read Whole Hearted Parenting’s book, 20 Steps to a Summer that Rocks!

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