Let me be the first to tell you that I don’t have it all together. Life is hard, raising children is challenging, and sometimes the day is just long, especially in the summer.
But when the fireflies come out and the days are long, something stirs inside us to have fun. How do you balance the gift and challenge of more time? For me, my parenting mindset makes all the difference.
When I set my intentions for the summer, life seems more simple.
(look at this photo of baby Jack!!!)
What do you want out of the summer for yourself? For your family? How can you accomplish what you set out to do?
Start with reflection, establish daily pillars, and explore your local area with a few simple summer activity ideas! Let’s go.
Take at least 15 minutes in a quiet space this month (before school gets out!) to think through the following prompts.
Visualize what time looks like for yourself in the summer (when the family is home more often)
What does quality time mean to me?
To each of my kids?
If you have a partner, to your partner?
What are the best times in the day to spend quality time with my kids?
What was our most recent school year like?
What is our current balance of independent time and family togetherness time?
Do my kids (and I) need more of less of the same activities?
Now that you’ve reflected on a hazy vision for summer, let’s get down to the details. What is a daily pillar?
Daily pillars are activities that you must do in a day. Activities you choose establish in your life that are almost immoveable.
You know. Like a pillar!!!
Little signals or habits in your day that are easy to habit stack on top of. Maybe it’s not an activity, but a sound or a time.
For example, I once heard of a preacher that challenged his high school students to pray every time they heard a bell ring to switch classes. During that pillar of their day, they habit stacked on top of it to include something that was important in their spiritual life.
What matters to you? What are your pillars this summer? Maybe you don’t have everyday pillars, but you have chosen weekly pillars. Do you hike every Wednesday morning? Visit a museum Tuesday afternoons? Get a sweet treat every Friday?
Don’t forget about those reflection questions – your pillars may set themselves up on their own!
And of course, pillars aren’t always fun, summer-y things. They can be the behind-the-scenes habits that help you show up better for the fun moments of parenting. Maybe you eat lunch in the summer at noon. What chores (dishes, laundry, tidying, etc.) can you accomplish around this pillar? Maybe when the sun goes down, all work stops for the day.
IDEAS TO KEEP SUMMER FRESH
Ok, we can’t talk about all this structure without dreaming about how to use it!!
We love Kidding Around Greenville for the best lists and compilations of things to do in Upstate South Carolina. Greenville 360 keeps an awesome website featuring local businesses and publishing lists of “things to do” in Greenville. And if you haven’t signed up for GVLToday, get their daily newsletter sent straight to your inbox!
IDEAS FOR THE FOODIES
In general, we keep it simple with our summer activities – a trip to the park with a picnic lunch and a blanket, then playing on the playground. An adventure in our backyard with a lunch we packed together and some books for the both of us.
A drive to Paris Mountain near Traveler’s Rest and downtown Greenville is great for locals. Take a picnic lunch on the beach then walk around the easy foot trail around the lake! They also have a great little visitor center with educations resources about the area. Falls Park is always a win for eating and watching the tourists, dogs, and ducks play.
If packing lunch isn’t your thing, support local, awesome Swamp Rabbit Cafe!
Can you tell we like food and picnics and simple outings? Adventures with food!
IDEAS FOR 100% FREE ACTIVITIES, JUST THE COST OF GAS
We also love the local library! It’s free, and they have movies so you can just check them out! (Remember DVDs?!)
The Greenville County library system has locations in Anderson Rd, Augusta Road, Berea, Five Forks, Fountain Inn, Greer, Downtown Greenville, Mauldin, Pelham Road, Simpsonville, Taylors, and Traveler’s Rest.
For the BEST reading lists, check out Read Aloud Revival. Sarah shares reading lists for every month, including a summer booklist! If you love a good podcast, listen to Read Aloud Revival’s! I love their episode Summer Reading (Making Memories and Having Fun).
IDEAS FOR FARM VISITS
Ok, overload of ideas: how do you feel about local farms??
We haven’t visited Arrowhead Blueberry farm in Travelers Rest is on our list for this year. If you can believe it, we’ve never picked blueberries. And this one is on our list.
YOU’RE READY FOR SUMMER
Whatever you do, keep it simple, don’t over plan.
I find that the simple no-stress activities allow me to lean in with intention and joy because I am not overcommitting myself as a mom. I think that is why I like packing picnics with each place we go because I know that I can reproduce the same action with variety, use the same cooler, the same containers, just change up the contents and where we are taking the picnic.
It doesn’t have to be fancy to be meaningful.
You can create the best memories in the simplest ways.
Now how will YOU build your summer pillars and adventures? I can’t wait to see how your family has FUN.