School holidays are (finally) upon us in the UK. This past month has felt like cruel and unusual punishment as countries all over the world have broken up for their holidays and the independent schools have been closing up shop for the summer one by one! It has felt a very, long term indeed.
Now that school is over and the kids are finally free, let’s give them a summer that they will remember forever. I am not suggesting that we fill their every waking minute with constant stimulation – that’s what the school year, with its homework, after school clubs and play dates is for.
Let’s take all the external stimulation away in order to fire their imaginations, their thirst for adventure, and their sense of self. Let them lie on the grass and find shapes in the clouds; create a camp from blankets; run under the sprinkler in their bare feet; paint endless pictures; make a mess. Oh yeah, and build a bridge out of loom bands!
Maybe this will be the summer where they have their first taste of independence, with a walk to the shops on their own, or a sleepover at a friend’s. Let them take on projects that they can devise and manage on their own, like a lemonade stand, a charity fundraiser, or a day trip of their own planning. Take them walking somewhere – anywhere, they will be filled with wonder wherever they go.
In the UK we have six short weeks after a long, pressure-filled school year. If we want our kids to experience a small fraction of the freedom we had, then summer is our best opportunity. If you have to work long hours all summer, don’t try to make up for it by cramming in evenings and weekends of activities. Just be with your smalls. Teaching your kids to do absolutely nothing and not get bored doing it is one of the most valuable life skills that they can learn.
Doing nothing will give them ample opportunity for adventures of their own making and it will fill their hearts and minds and make for a summer that they will never forget.