Black and white outdoor image of a black cockapoo laying the grass. There is an out of focus scene in the foreground of two girls playing with a baby and boys on a trampoline off in the distance. The dog is in the middle relaxing.

SUMMER P-L-A-N #3 – What To Do With Kids in the Summer

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Next week I’ll be speaking at the monthly
Happiness Club meeting in downtown Madison, CT

I’d absolutely love to see you and all your friends!

Wednesday, June 21st @ 7pm
In the building to the right of the
Madison First Congregational Church
26 Meeting House Lane

If you email me at
[email protected]
I’ll send you a little map to make
finding the correct door even easier!


And now back to our regularly scheduled program…


Because sending four kids to summer camp was too expensive when they were little, I ran CampPetris instead. At that time, I didn’t work outside the home, so our family did something different every day: Museum Monday, Beach Tuesday, Pool Wednesday, Field Trip Thursday, Friend Friday (because who wants to be on I-95 in the summer on a Friday? Am I right?) Eventually, I had to abandon that plan because 1. I was working, and 2. The kids were older and had their own agendas. But that’s where I think I had it wrong: My kids were making plans, so I stopped planning. Here’s where I think a little adjustment this summer might help: I don’t have to micro-plan the kids’ days and weeks, but I can look at everyone’s schedules and come up with a loose plan that also allows us time for work, play, and rest.

A few things for me to remember when planning for a family with four teenagers:

    1. Let them plan their own lives. We’re at a stage where I’m working around them, not the other way around. It’s another small way for me to express my trust in them.
    2. Block out family/event time on the calendar so everyone knows when they’ll be expected to be available. Mama still needs her family time.
    3. Don’t prepare unannounced meals and get frustrated that no one’s home to eat them. (I might have done this for a few too many weeks last summer.) As we all know, these pips are very familiar with fend-for-yourself dining.
    4. Plan things later in the day. We’re out later in the summer and everyone behaves better with more sleep. PS I can’t be expected to be patient and loving to these criticizing crickets if I haven’t gotten enough rest.
    5. Kids are so tiring, especially when they’re all together. They’re like their own little mob. I always need, but rarely plan extra downtime to account for how exhausted I get in the summer. 
    6. Instead of stressing about screen time (which I completely stress about), I’m going to focus on planning activities that don’t involve screens. #redirection
    7. Finally, the most important part of the plan is to let go of the plan. If my Planning Church isn’t working as a helpful model, we’ll just have to stop going to Planning Church!

As I mentioned, awareness and connection are the underbelly of planning. The act of planning is fueled by my deep desire to both see and accept myself and my family. Planning is charged with a consciousness of what everyone in the family needs to be their best selves. My plans are not in the name of accomplishment, but in the name of making time to live our most peaceful and present lives. That goal may sound dramatic and cheesy, but oh well. The time I spend planning has been so important and effective in my family’s lives, and it actually, truly works.

And on that note, it’s time to bid you farewell. I’m staying true to my summer plan, and I’m going into blueprint and reflection mode at Confessions. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to highlight some old summer favorites, and I’ll be back in the fall with more from this dramatic/cheesy mind of mine. Until then, Go-Go Summer Plan of 2023!

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    Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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