The thought of the approaching 6 week summer break may bring you feelings of dread or excitement but either way you can't stop them coming, equally though you can't get the time back once it has gone. The pressures of modern life can be overwhelming at times and we forget the importance of simple childhood pleasures. It's easy to stress about how to keep the kids entertained for 6 long weeks but when we worry about it we are missing the point. Instead of thinking that I have to "entertain" the kids I will be mindful of keeping my focus on making memories.
The summer holidays can be notoriously damaging to our bank balances, it is easy to spend a small fortune, even a trip to a play centre can end up with your wallet taking a hefty hit. Take a second to think back to your childhood though, what stands out for you? For me it's the little moments I remember;
Eating a bag of chips at the docks, bike rides with my dad, building sand castles on the beach, watching the clouds change shape, playing catch in the garden, eating breakfast outside, my mum making me mocktails, listening to music together on long car journey's, water fights, making a den in the shrubs outside my house, watching a film under a blanket with my mum. The times when I laughed till I cried (or wet myself)!
"Children spell love differently to us they spell it TIME!"
Now that I am the parent, the problem I have with time is it seems to be the thing I have the least of. Sometimes it feels like I am in a battle against the clock from the moment I wake up till the moment I shut my eyes at night, chastising myself for not getting enough done or not getting to sleep early enough.
And yet it time is the greatest gift I have to give to my kids.
With this in mind and inspired by Sweet Whimsy Photography #sweetsummerchallenge, we sat down with the girls and came up with a list of things that we plan on doing this summer to create these irreplaceable memories.
Even the list making activity in itself was fun; the kids came up with a few of their own but for original ideas I used the 101 ideas sheet provided by Donna Loring, the photographer and brain behind the challenge. Some of these are so simple and things we would have done anyway but by making a list we are all making a commitment to each other, a promise of a summer full of memories.
I must say, unfortunately the only one they didn't like from the list was the "no tech day." We are going camping though so they will get that if they like it or not!
The #sweetsummerchallenge will help us to ensure we create the space and time to have fun as a family; it's a celebration of the simple moments. I didn't even include the actual holiday we have booked after all; it's not the holiday that is important it's the time that it gives us. They won't remember the whole trip anyway, only snap shots. Their memories will fade over the years but soon like my own childhood memories, they will look back as if flicking through a photo album in their mind. I want their album to be full of contented family moments, full of love, laughter and TIME!
Here is our list for the #sweetsummerchallenge
1. Paint each other
2. Have a picnic
3. Build sandcastles on the beech
4. Family swimming
6. Go to the park
7. Fruit picking
8. Nature scavenger hunt
9. Look for shapes in the clouds
10. Play with play dough
12. Make a fort
13. Dance in the rain
14. Eat chocolate
15. Go for a walk
16. Try a new flavour ice cream
17. Go on a bug hunt
18. Have a BBQ
19. Have lunch in a pub we haven't been to before
20. Have a family house party
21. Roll down a hill
22. Jump on a trampoline
23. Make a cake
24. Play pooh sticks
25. Read a new book
26. Go on a bear hunt
If you would like more information join the Sweet Summer Challenge mailing list and get ideas to help make your own #sweetsummerchallenge list. Give your own contented family the time to make memories to add to their own photo album.
Find out more about the how Lisa finds happiness in the everyday madness of motherhood on her blog The Contented Family.