It's almost here...summer! All over kids are counting the days until the last bell rings and school is over. The kids are excited, the school teachers are breathing a sigh of relief and the parents are probably feeling conflicted. On one hand they are ready for a change in the routine, the summer weather, and plans for activities, vacation and more time with the kids. On the other hand, what are the kids going to do with all that extra time? What happens when boredom sets in? As a mom, I always felt this way. I wanted the summer to be fun but also wanted everyone getting along and some semblance of order for the days. So, in light of this, I want to suggest a few things to help you make this summer a memorable one.
1. Make plans for your child to go to a good Bible camp. Camp is one of the best investments you can make in your child's spiritual life. Statistics say that one week at a good Bible camp is equivalent to one year of Sunday School. Camp is a place where kids can get away from all the outside influences (TV, computer, video games, phones, etc.) and get out in the great outdoors. It provides time for relationship building with peers and caring adults. It provides fun, wholesome activities (swimming, recreation, playing in the dirt!) that your child will enjoy. It also provides great memories for your child to cherish for a lifetime. Last but most important, it provides time with the Lord in an atmosphere that will nurture and cultivate your child's relationship with God. Camp does cost money but there is no comparison monetarily to the value spiritually. Camp is as important to your child's spiritual journey as food is to his health.
2. Make plans for several activities you can do together throughout the summer. You don't have to go on an expensive vacation or to a theme park or water park to have meaningful times with your kids. In fact, kids spell love T-I-M-E. There are lots of good ideas of special things you can do that cost nothing or very little. Try an overnight in a tent in the backyard, a family game day with friendly competition (complete with water balloons), trips to the library to get a new book to enjoy at bedtime, working together at some community project, beach days, picnics, planting and maintaining a garden, walking, bicycling, training for 5k event, etc. There are so many things you can do. Sit down together and find out what things the kids would enjoy doing with you. Let your imagination help you get creative.
3. Maintain a daily/weekly schedule. Structure is a kid's best friend. Most kids who don't have structure get bored easily and can get into trouble with too much time on their hands. Decide what chores are important for the kids to do daily or weekly. Make an incentive system to see that they are rewarded for being responsible with their duties. Set aside time for devotions and prayer each day. Don't make it too long (not a time to preach to them) but make it meaningful and fun so that they will enjoy and look forward to it. Also, set aside time to help them keep up with their educational skills so that they maintain the level they were when school adjourned. You can find good educational materials at your local variety store for all age levels. Give an incentive for working at this. Have a reading contest (make it fun and rewarding)!
4. Make time to go to church. Don't miss church too much. Go and enjoy some things on the weekend but keep going to church a priority in your home. This is helping to form a good habit of setting aside time to worship God and helps your child know that being a part of a local body of believers is important.
All too soon, summer will be in the history books. Make it a memorable and fun time for your family.