Summer brings a different rhythm for kids and young families.
Different rhythms are important. In biblical times there were all kinds of mandatory festivals which ensured God’s people stayed fresh and out of a rut. The season of summer and the season of fall, which is “back to school,” are healthy changeups that we all need. Even though Lib and I don’t have a “young family” anymore, and all of our kids are out of our house, some rhythms just don’t go away.
Summer is a time for less regimentation and later bedtimes. Because there isn’t a strict school schedule that is driving family priorities, it’s normal and healthy to become a bit lax during the summer. But in the fall it’s time to step back into a more regimented lifestyle. Just as many of us look forward to summer, we should also look forward to fall. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- The next day starts the night before. This is the time to make lunches and prep backpacks. Even for those of us who aren’t going to school, the success of our next day can be determined by our habits the night before.
- Embrace a set bedtime that gives you needed sleep and prepares you for productivity.
- Set standard evening meal times where you all connect and debrief your day. A simple regimen to put in place is to go around the dinner table and ask each person two questions. “What was the worst part of your day?” and “What was the best part of your day?” This will create meaningful conversations.
- Take care of yourself first. If you need an hour alone in the morning before the kids get moving, do it. If you need to roll straight out of bed into the car, do it. Strategically choose the patterns for you rather than mindlessly fall into stress.
- Establish a prayer cue. If you are driving your kids to school, identify a traffic light where every day you will pray out loud for a blessing on their day and for the entire faculty and student population.
- Fun doesn’t end when summer ends. We all still need to play. For us, that meant jumping on the trampoline for 15 minutes every night after dinner or playing murderball up against the chain link fence.
It isn’t the one-off experiences that make for a meaningful and great life. It is the intentional ordering of our days over a lifetime. Fall is a great season to restart.