Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Are We Having Fun Yet?

By Life Coach Janet Bonnin
Fine-Tuned Families


Pool parties, trips to the zoo, playing in the sprinkler, having friends over - the summer is in full swing! But the summer can fly by. In the blink of an eye, school will be here. How can you make sure everyone has done some favorite things before summer slips by? Have the family dream up a Summer Fun List! It is fun and easy to do.


Pre-planning: To build anticipation, tell every family member to think of some activities he or she would love to do and come ready to share. Have a family meeting: Fix some favorite snacks, grab some comfortable seats and start visiting.


Brainstorm away: Start the brainstorming! Have someone capture the ideas on paper as they come. Everyone gets to share! Be sure to post the list where all can see it and mark the items as you do them. This helps you keep the fun coming and reminds the kids of the great things they are doing.


Add or improve habits: While everyone is gathered, this is also a great time to mention a few new habits for each kid to work on. Short and simple is best. Last year, for example, I set four goals for my older sons – regular exercise, eat more fruits and veggies, use your good manners, and express gratitude. With the summer weeks to work on it, we had some better habits to take back to school!


Summer fun can be really simple. My sons usually want a fair amount of time to hang out, play games, read, and play electronics. They also enjoy inviting friends over and swimming in the lake near our house. This unstructured time is important for kids to help them relax from the rigors of the school year and to discover and pursue new interests and hobbies.


Along with the simpler pleasures, we love taking day trips into San Antonio. When the boys were younger, we visited the zoo and the children's museum. As they grew, we graduated to trips to the movies, art, history and science museums, local theme parks and other attractions.

Add in a family vacation or two, a camp or two, and you've got the recipe for a great summer! Don’t worry about having too much on your list! Your Summer Fun List may be extensive. Rotate through everyone's favorite ideas to keep anyone from feeling left out. It's okay to end the summer with items still on the list. That leaves ideas for the months ahead.


Our family started the tradition of the Summer Fun List several years ago. The boys look forward to planning the summer together. We've enjoyed great family fun every year since. Why not start your tradition today!

Janet Bonnin is a life coach, Industrial Engineer and mother of three. She works with busy parents to strengthen family teamwork, parent more effectively, de-stress, and get more done with less effort at work and at home.