Parents, you did it! You made it through another school year and summer is here! Goodbye crazy morning routine, goodbye homework, goodbye strict schedules and helllllllooooo freedom! But we all know how summer goes. The first few weeks are like bliss: camps, relaxed schedules, visits to the pool, vacation, trips to grandma’s house, etc. But then as the summer goes on and all fun trips are over, it is 1000 degrees, the pools all feel like hot bath water, and before we know it school starts back up again and we wonder if we wasted it. As you enter into summer this year (after all it has been since 2019 that we had a “regular summer”) here are 4 simple tips to help you make the most of your family’s summer.
Give God the glory
At the beginning of summer, take some time as parents and reflect on what God has done this year. Thank him for the ways you saw him work in and around your family. Do this as a family if your kids are old enough. Think about some big wins that your kids had this year? What did they grow in? Then tell them! Tell them how proud you are of them. Point out to them how God was with them all year and brought them this far. Remind them (any maybe yourself too) that God helped them overcome that fear, helped them grow in that skill, brought them new friends, etc. Give God the glory for this year!
God gave us seasons on purpose. Ecclesiastes 3 (and The Byrds song Turn Turn Turn) tell us that for everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. Summer is one of those seasons, albeit a hot one. And with that season, the God-given grace to change some things. Perhaps your family needs to slow down. Did the school year leave your family exhausted from all the busy activities? Then take some time to slow down and reset your rhythms for rest. For some of you, this is the time to start something that you normally don’t have time for – those piano lessons, that family devotional time you have always wanted, a family exercise routine, a summer reading plan, etc. Your summer doesn’t have to be filled with trips and camps for your kids to love it. And if your kids are in elementary school or older, ask them what they want to do this summer, I bet they have some ideas. This season is not only a good time for resetting your family rhythms, but also your personal rhythms. Perhaps, as you sprinted towards summer, time in the word was harder to come by or sitting down to pray meant you dozed off to sleep. Take this season to intentionally reset your rhythms. It will benefit your kids more than any other plans you make this summer.
Teach as you go
Sometimes as parents, we build up these big moments to teach life’s lessons. And sometimes those are great, but most of the time, our parenting is on the go. That is why Deuteronomy 6:7 says,
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
The Israelites knew a lot about being on the go. They were a nomadic people that moved whenever the Lord said move, after all he is the only one who knows what tomorrow holds. So sure, plan those special moments to have that talk, but also, with just a little intentional planning, you can teach your kids about God as you go to the park, as you take that trip to the beach, as you talk about sharing that toy with their brother or sister, as you are cuddled up reading a book, etc. Take the extra time you have with them this summer and talk to them, get to know them, ask them questions. Talk about God, read your Bible in front of them, read your Bible with them. Pray with them as you walk to the pool. Take time to share something at the dinner table. Tell your kids how you see God working in their lives.
Pray for the upcoming school year
At some point before August, perhaps as you are buying all those school supplies, take time to pray for this next school year. What is something you want for your kids this year? Is there something that you know will be a challenge for your child? Is there an area you want them to grow in? If your child is old enough, invite them into this conversation too. What are they nervous about? What are their hopes for this year? Then take some time the few weeks before school and pray for those specific things. Write them down somewhere and continue to pray for them throughout the year. Then as you see God answer those prayers, you can rejoice and give him the glory!