We’ve said ‘adieu’ to the lazy days of July, a month that marks the middle of summer. Barbecues, days at the beach, road trips, summer camps, late nights and even later mornings.
During these months many of us let routines and schedules slip away as we allow for a more spontaneous, “go with the flow” groove to emerge and define the early days of our children’s summer vacation. But as we welcome August, a month that traditionally gets our engines revving as we consciously or unconsciously begin to prepare for school, a summer of mindful memories can be lost with this small shift in focus.
This time of year also brings a rise of inquires from parents wondering how to maintain the gentle summer flow with kids through August and avoid the stress that’s already permeating their minds. Unlike our children who have the ability to remain in the moment, right up until the first ring of the alarm clock marking the first day of school, we are entering the planning phase of summer and with that comes additional, but unnecessary stress.
When my own children were young, I made it a practice to surround myself with friends who had older kids. Why? So I could leverage their wisdom, common sense and advice. Now that my children are out on their own, I want to share a few tips for keeping the energy high and the stress low as we dive into August and the upcoming school year
First, make a list of what “fuels” you.
- Slow, mindful breakfast with the kids
- Sleepy babies cuddling on my lap in the morning light
- Baby, toddler, school age or teenage morning breath
- Giggles over chocolate chip pancakes and milk mustaches
- Fresh berries picked the day before
- Birds at the window
- A new flower budding in the garden
- The sound of the lake just beyond view
- The smell of the ocean
Obviously, the list is endless. These are just a few I thought of that take place before teeth are even brushed. In August, it’s easy to lose site of what “fuels” us and keeps us grounded in the here and now, something our children are experts in, as our minds drift toward the upcoming school year. Continue making a list for yourself and tack it onto your fridge or make a large poster (with the help of the kids of course) to anchor you in the here and now and get the most out of every remaining day.
What’s equally helpful is to write a list of what “depletes” you.
I doubt you need any suggestions from me and I don’t want to give this list any energy, but if you take just a few minutes and write down three, four or even five things that could potentially interfere with your ability to enjoy the last remaining, gloriously abundant, days of summer, do it now.
Ask yourself if you can let some of these go. Really challenge yourself and listen to your internal dialogue, which might be trying to convince you that it’s time to jump into gear and be proactive. If it feels right, rip the list up and toss it. Or keep it as a reminder of the things that take you away from what you want most from the summer – time to connect with kids and the memories that will make up the fabric of your lives together.
I can tell you that even if you wait until seven days before the first school bell rings, all the major retailers will still have plenty of shoes, backpacks, notebooks, pens and anything else you think necessary for your child’s upcoming school year.
Look for more in the following weeks to help you transition easily into the new school year and keep your kids in the forefront of the process.
Here’s to another jump in the pool, round of backgammon on the deck, or walk in the woods.