How many summers do we have left with our kids, while they’re still little? While they’re still kids? Before they go off to college or get “real” jobs?
I have 15 summers left with Sweet Pea and 16 with Buddy Boy. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But, it’s really not. Not in the grand scheme of things.
They’ll never be these ages again. They’ll never have the same relationship they do. The one where Sweet Pea enjoys “reading” to her brother, and where he will listen to her and willingly follow her lead.
Who knows, next summer, they may not even want me to carry them. Or wear them in their carriers. This could be the last summer I get to wear my babies.
That’s heartbreaking. I mean, the thought of them being able to walk and not NEEDING to carry or wear them is appealing, but it also means that they’ll no longer be little anymore.
So, what will you do this summer? How will you spend your time?
Me? I’m going to maximize it.
I’m going to run around on the field with them and play soccer with them.
I’m going to read book after book. Turn page after page. Even if it’s the same book for what feels like the thousandth time. You know, the book that you no longer need the words for because you have it memorized?
I’m going to take our carriers when we go on vacation and I’m going to wear my babies.
Art? Science? The same board game over and over? Yup. That’s us.
Rolling around on the floor roughhousing? Check.
“Childhood is a journey, not a race.”
Scavenger hunts and neighborhood walks? Hikes? Count us in.
Camping? Hopefully (in my perfect world, that’s a resounding YES, but sometimes, it’s not logistically as possible as I’d like).
Play dates with our friends? Absolutely.
BBQs? Games? Swimming at the lake? Yup. We’ll be there.
Worksheets to prevent the summer slide? Never. I know they say, “never say never,” but as an educator and parent, I can’t see how that’s the best use of our children’s youth. It’s not the best way to learn, that’s for sure, so, nope. We’ll pass.
Catching all the latest movies and countless Netflix binges? Not our style. Sure, we (the adults) watch TV and catch an occasional movie from the comfort of our couch, but not the kids. They’re too busy playing.
The kids? They have a 1950s? 1970s? style childhood (I’m not sure of the proper decade, as I wasn’t around then, but you get the idea) and my husband and I intend to keep it that way as long as we can.
They don’t need to be bogged down with the latest iPad apps and video games. They need to be outside playing, running around, exploring the world around them, negotiating with one another (and us!), reading to the dog, finding ladybugs and picking strawberries in the backyard.
It’s not my job to present them with the alphabet, colors, numbers, and shapes and make sure that they can regurgitate it back to me before the kid down the street can, just so that they’re “prepared” (in theory!) for school. It’s my job to help them discover it and learn it on their own. It’s my job to follow their lead and help them explore their interests, not shove information down their throats. I’m raising kids. Tiny humans. Not building some facade or fluffing up some fake resume just so things look good on paper.
So, what will we be learning this summer?
We’ll continue learning, just as we do every day. That’s the beauty of learning through play and discovery-based learning activities. The kids get to have fun learning, being creative, experimenting, making conjectures and testing them, asking questions and figuring out the answers… That’s what being a child is all about.
And, I’m not about to rob my kids of their childhood. They have their whole lives to be tied to technology and bombarded with notifications and information. It’s my job, as their mother, to let them be little. Let them enjoy another carefree summer. Just being. Just doing. Just exploring and having fun. Just because they can. They’re only this little this once. Why can’t they enjoy it? Why rush childhood?
And, they’ll be better off for it. They’ll be MORE prepared for school. Not less. And, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out some of my recent activities if you don’t believe me. While you’re at it, if you’re the least bit curious about learning through play, saving time by skipping Pinterest and setting up simple activities using stuff you have at home, check out my Surviving Summer Series. It’s free, so what do you have to lose?
Nothing. And everything to gain. 🙂