Summer life is already upon us here in the states.

We’re watching birds and looking for nests. We’re walking barefoot and having picnics in the grass.

We’re already planning to pick strawberries and blueberries.

And yet the calendar is already filling up. Finding that balance of doing stuff and not doing too much is always a challenge, a constant feeling of push and pull. Our children want to do so much and we want to give them so many opportunities — and yet we also know they will enjoy summer best if it’s slow and meaningful.

For instance, when discussing our planned beach vacation our daughters had a great conversation about how to make time go slower.

“We shouldn’t do too much because then the time will go slower,” Jadyn said

“Yeah, I agree,” Liana said.

My daughters have already figured out — at the tender age of 8 — that time goes much faster when we’re busy and slower when we’re not. Funny, I’m writing a book about this topic so perhaps they’ve picked up on a few things.

In our family, we plan summer knowing that this balance of doing and not doing is going to be a struggle but one we’re willing to do with love and connection the whole way through.

How to plan for a slow summer

Here are some tips for How to Plan A Slow Summer:

Keep it Simple. 

Each activity we do outside of the house will be simple. Our summer focus will be on one organized activity — tennis — and the rest of the time we’ll be happy to visit farmer’s markets, flower markets and explore local nature centers.

Stick to the Meaningful.

The best parts of summer are spent around a campfire, under the stars, or chasing each other in the yard. More of this. Yes, more of this.

Let them Roam.

I love letting my girls loose to run and play. They are getting older and love the freedom. This is summer. I want to be able to do my own thing. I want them to be able to do their own things. And, naturally, we’ll find connections at the intersections of our days.

Ditch the Schedule.

Our days will always have a very consistent flow because we operate better that way but the flow leaves lots of room for flexibility and adventures. It also leaves room for ditching something that’s not necessary in our lives, too. A good flow offers a set schedule that takes care of our needs but isn’t so rigid that we have to be here and there all day long.

Instill a Sense of Calm.

Perhaps this is more for me but a slow summer means relaxing. The bulk of our days should feel calm, relaxed and happy. If I have to fight with my children to do something, perhaps we shouldn’t do it. And, I’d rather choose the peaceful path – the path of least resistance – because I know it’s healthier for my family’s overall wellness. So if the plan is to take a hike and that just doesn’t feel right, I’m going to go with what feels calm over what the plan was supposed to be.

Accept Imperfection.

To have slow summer means not having any expectations about anything other than just enjoying each day. If we wake up and decide a day in our jammies is best, that’s a perfectly imperfect day. May we have many of them. Or, perhaps, that’s not what we want to do. A slow summer allows for those kinds of imperfect last-minute changes.

Do What You Love.

Summer is meant to be enjoyed. That includes doing things YOU love, too — not just the kids. So if hiking is your thing and the kids can’t keep up, plan to go hiking on your own or with a friend. We get really wrapped up in what the kids need for an ideal summer vacation that we sometimes forget we’re people, too, with needs and desires. Summer is a great time to meet those needs.

Oh, and once you know have a plan for a slow summer, you need some slow summer activities — to savor the season and the days together. You can get 50 Ideas for a Slow Summer here. 

Need more ideas on slowing down?

Check out my Let’s Ban Busy Pinterest Board:

Follow Shawn Fink | Abundant Mama's board Let's Ban Busy™ on Pinterest.

Discuss: What would a slow summer day mean for you?

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