My Mindful Monday: Gear up for summer break

How did everyone do on last week’s Mindful Monday challenge? Pretty good here. I feel like I stayed on top of the influx of end-of-school paperwork pretty well so far…there’s still a week to go. (Of course, I did accidentally show up at the preschool picnic an hour late, sure it was from 12 – 2 instead of 11 – 2. Argh! Luckily, Owen never noticed.)

This week, I’m giving myself a similar challenge – to get on top of summer break before it’s on top of us.

WHO: The whole family.

WHAT: Give some thought – and planning – to how we want our summer vacation to go.

WHY: I have always subscribed to the “Summertime, and the livin’ is so easy I forgot what day it is” school of thought. But while long, languid days are what summer is all about, it’s only too easy for the months to pass by in a fog. When you’ve got lots of kids of varying ages, it’s not always possible to be entirely spontaneous about some of the most fun things about summer, like camping or trips to the beach. I don’t want to wake up on Labor Day and realize we never took that long family bike ride or that the kids spent most of it begging to play video games.


  • Set the stage – With so many indoor distractions these days it’s only too easy for kids (and grown-ups) to get so engrossed inside that they forget to ever go outside, so I think this is an important first step. I made the XBox off-limits a few weeks ago and told the kids it’ll stay that way until fall (it turns out it takes exactly 13 days for them to stop asking for it.) We cleaned out the garage so the bikes, balls, and other outdoor toys are easy to get to. The camping gear is all in one place and ready to grab at a moment’s notice. Now I’m working on ways to make our small yard as appealing as possible.
  • Make a plan – A couple of our bikes need to go to the shop for repairs. We need to have enough tennis balls, sunscreen, and swimsuits that fit. A master task list (I use a huge white board above my desk) will help me sort out exactly what needs to be done and prioritize the tasks, and then I can work on putting them on my calendar.

Two of the goals I’m keeping in mind as I make a loose plan for our summer break? 1. Lots of time spent outdoors, and 2. Encouraging increased responsibility for all the kids, especially my oldest two. I wrote this article for Good Housekeeping magazine a few years ago about encouraging kids to play outdoors, in case you’re interested in reading it. And I’ll be talking a little about kids and responsibility in my final post in our money series, which will be all about talking to kids about finances. Stay tuned!

What’s your Mindful Monday Challenge this week?

PS: Happy Memorial Day! I hope you’re spending it with people you love.

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