Summer is here and yet, many of us feel like we have already had summer because our kids have been home from school or daycare for months due to Covid-19 precautions. Now that the school year has finally finished in some form or fashion, how do we make the most of the next few months when school is out and many summer activities including camps, vacations, pool time, and VBS are cancelled?
Well, we make the most of it—in spite of all the unknowns and questions we have. To the mom, dad, grandparent, or caregiver, my message to you is that we can do this! Here are some things to consider as you plan what may seem like an endless summer:
1. Be flexible.
I think the biggest challenge we may all have is our own attitudes towards this particular summer. If we can hold the time with open hands, we will have a better chance at making summer 2020 special for our kids. Be sure you are taking time to stay in the Word and have a prayerful heart as you approach each day. This attitude is contagious to your kids (and so is a negative one, by the way.)
2. Do your research.
Google Maps has become my best friend during the Coronavirus season. As you know, you can use it as a search engine for places you are interested in going to and it will tell you if it is open—and usually have an updated statement about Covid-19 precautions such as masks required or partial capacity. It is worth a phone call to see if there are updates since places are constantly changing their policies and hours.
3. Strive for one outing a day.
If you are working outside the home, you might plan this for a babysitter or for after-work hours. If you are still working at home, plan around your lunch break, or start your day early and plan for a late afternoon activity. Ideas for outings include: outdoor activities such as trails and creeks, swimming holes (or pools and parks if open), indoor activities such as libraries, museums, and visiting friends.
4. Create activities at your home.
For all the hours spent at home, it’s time to get imaginative about creating a fun fortress of things to do at home. I realize we have all been in quarantine and maybe feel like we’ve exhausted all of our ideas, but for this summer consider going a bit further. Ideas to consider might be making each room a different theme (a “Build-it” room stocked with Legos and blocks, a “Creative” room full of arts and craft supplies, a “Fort” room with a homemade tent and sleeping bags and lots of books—you get the picture!). Don’t forget about your yard—keep sprinklers close by and a small inflatable pool or slip and slide, sidewalk chalk, and maybe even a lemonade stand!
5. Open your home to others.
Small gatherings are permitted almost everywhere, so use this opportunity to open your home to neighbors, friends, and playgroups. If you aren’t comfortable with people inside, use your driveway or patio to grill hamburgers, serve up ice cream, and let kids play together outside and adults have meaningful conversations on camp chairs while supervising.
6. Worship together.
Your church may be open now, but not yet for kids and preschool programming. Be sure to take the opportunity to worship together in a safe way at church with the guidelines your leaders have set or at home by using streaming or recorded services.
Beyond that, use this chance to open God’s Word together daily as a family. It can be a short passage simply read aloud, ending with a prayer or a Bible story ready from a Children’s storybook Bible, or look to your church for activities to intentionally engage your child with resources they provide. Don’t miss this opportunity to grow together spiritually.
So, while summer 2020 may seem like an endless summer that started in March, let me encourage you to make the most of it by being open to what God has planned specifically for you and your family during this season. We will one day tell the stories about how we made our way through such unknown times, let’s commit to making them special and memorable—even if the community pool stays closed!
“He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11