The Summertime Balancing Act
Summertime is officially in full swing. For some, that means a marathon of long days at the city pool, soaking up the sun and slurping down sodas. For others, early mornings spent donning a uniform for their summer job. For all the various approaches to these school-free months, a unifying question remains: how can we make the most of all this season has to offer?
Refreshment & Refinement
One question is helpful in identifying the best uses of a summer break: what can summer break afford that the school year makes difficult? As the chorus of teenagers yells, “sleeping in!,” consider a few other activities that school schedules inhibit:
Space to Create
When homework, school projects, and test prep fill evenings and weekends, creative time can go out the window. Take advantage of this season’s free time to create. For the entrepreneurial, that could look like taking the next step in turning your idea into a plan, channelling your craftsmanship into building a treehouse, or taking paint to paper. Rather than filling the summer with consumption of media, spend it creating.
Unplugging has become more of a challenge than ever before. Teens are expected to balance a half dozen social media accounts while messaging in emojis and keeping apprised of the latest in music, movies, TV, and the web. As such, escaping to a sleepaway camp has never provided more of a break from the demands of being a teenager. Look for camps that sharpen your child’s favorite hobbies. Music camps, sports camps, and even coding camps provide an extended opportunity to focus and have fun, both without distraction.
This isn’t all about vacation, though vacationing has its sacred place. Consider the road trip to that intriguing convention, or the backpacking trip to that national park that’s sitting in your backyard yet keeps getting put off. No email exchanges with teachers explaining the circumstances, no makeup work. Just good, old fashioned trips.
There’s another, sneakier side effect of the academic year: sitting. Outside of P.E., schools are not known for furthering our physical health. We slouch in hard backed chairs, sit for hours on end, and return home to slouch further over piles of homework. Take advantage of summertime’s weather and freedom to get in shape. Find an activity your child loves and do it with them. Practice a sport, run around the neighborhood, or walk and talk. You’ll improve your physical health and relational health in one activity.