When it comes to school holidays, I sometimes think I am more excited than the children. It’s a long awaited break from the routine; school runs, after school activities and weekend sport. When we moved back to Dublin last September, it was done in a bit of a hurry and not well organized. To be honest, it was chaotic! The new school was chosen, and before we knew it we were waving goodbye, saying ‘have a great day, learn something!’. From that moment on there was a steady stream of requests to attend extra curricular activities: sports, dancing, and math’s club to name a few. Since we were in chaotic mode and deeply aware that our children were uprooted with no warning, we said yes to many of the activities, too many in fact!! My reputation would be one of organization and my dream would be to have a command center, like the one on Young House Love.
But for my husband it might be a ‘straw that broke the camels back’ situation! So before we knew it, our three children had every weekday evening taken up with a range of activities (dancing, life saving, rugby…), any spare time was spent hosting their friends or going to a friends house. The weekend was spent on the side line of the most easterly wind exposed rugby pitch on the island of Ireland! It was official, we have become ‘mom and dad taxi’…or have we? The summer is here, one school year over and where do we stand? We now know the ‘lay of the land’; our children are settled, familiar with their environment and have made friends. Job well done! When we return to school in September, we are reverting back to our rule of two activities per child. But between now and then we are all set for a ‘NOT Bummer Summer’!! I was at a talk given by a John Sharry (social worker and solution focused therapist). He spoke about the value of spending time with our children. A parent in the audience asked if children should attend lots of extra curricular activities. They wanted their children to have a taste of every thing, or how would they know what they want to do? John Sharry explained that your child will be what they will be, regardless if you send them to cooking classes, ballet, Irish club, basketball, football and drama! The time spent with our children, simply kicking a football, reading a book or making the dinner, cannot be compared to all the classes in the world. We are their world; they are around us all the time because they were meant to and want to be with US – their parents!! So even for those of us who are working full time and cannot be around every day during the summer, pick one thing, and devote all your attention to it. Try building a sand castle, before you know it, you will be strengthening the walls of the moat and calling for reinforcements!
NOT Bummer Summer means:
- Buckets and spades and long days on the beech.
- Playing X’s and O’s in the sand.
- Building sandcastles that may require planning permission and need its own water meter!
- Walks in the mountains, forests or parks, all the while keeping an eye out for fairies and trolls!
- Trips to the library
- Ice cream
- Playing card games – seven card twist, UNO and crazy eights!
- BBQ’s and eating outside.
- Going for a bike ride.
- Picnics at the waterfall and paddling our feet in water that feels like it is running straight from the North Pole!
Children know how to have a NOT Bummer Summer – join in, and you will too!