Staying up late and sleeping in.
The smell of chlorine in my hair.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Oatmeal cream pies.
Weeks spent at my Grandmother’s.
Maybe your summer memories are different than mine, but I bet we can all agree that summertime is certainly a memorable season.
For our children, it’s a breather from the relentless (and often rigorous!) schedule that school brings. For us, it’s a juggling act of childcare, managing boredom, and trying to squeeze in a few moments in the sun for ourselves.
You have a lot going on, so we wanted to provide you with a few ideas on how to start your summer on a high note!
Last Day of School Ideas
For your preschooler, the last day of school may not actually be the last day of school. Maybe they’re in Pre-K. Maybe they’re in a Mother’s Morning Out program. Or maybe they stay home with you. But you can still mark the beginning of summer in a fun way!
Create a “Countdown to Summer” paper chain by linking together slivers of colored construction paper. Hang a paper sunshine high on a wall, and let the rainbow-colored chain hand down from it. Every day that goes by, have your preschooler remove a piece of the chain. Talk about the colors of the papers, the shape of the sun and what your plans are for the summer. Count the remaining links before bed every night.
This age is fun because they’re still young enough to really excited about things—without being “too cool” for it!
Talk to some of the other parents in your neighborhood, and organize an end-of-the-year water war. One fun idea is to be waiting with water balloons when your child gets off the bus or have balloons at the ready when you get home after picking them up. Make sure the children are in a safe location, then surprise them and fire away. Be sure to have extra water balloons for them, too. A “Parents versus Kids” water war makes it extra fun!
Middle school students are funny. They love their friends, can’t drive and get bored easily. For them, summer might come with mixed emotions. (As do most things when you’re in middle school.)
Help set the tone for an exciting break by having a basket of goodies ready for them when they get home from school. You can even make a banner for them outside of your house (depending on how embarrassed you want to make them), or decorate their bedroom door with streamers and balloons.
The contents of the basket can all correspond to fun things they can do in the summer (and can be found at a Discount/Dollar store):
- Sunscreen (for the pool/lake/beach)
- Popcorn (for a movie night)
- Bubbles (no one is ever too old for bubbles)
- Their favorite candy (for late night snacking)
- Marshmallows (for a bonfire roasting)
- Book/magazine (to read on a long drive somewhere fun)
- Flashlight (for camping)
You get the idea.
Your high school student will most definitely appreciate summer break—especially after they can drive. They’ll probably have jobs, plans with friends, internships, summer reading, etc. Before you lose them for the summer, create a moment on the last day of school.
Teenagers crave one thing: independence. On the last day of school, give your child a new freedom or responsibility. Extend their curfew. Increase their allowance. Grant that one desire they’ve been begging you for (within reason). Extending trust to your high school student is a good way to pave the road for your future relationship with them. They won’t always live in your home forever. Easing up on the control is healthy for them—and for you, too.
Happy last week of school Hyde Park Families…enjoy the summer!
Summer Sunday Morning Live is almost here! Parent help needed!
9:30 and 11 a.m., Sundays, June 2 – Aug. 11
During this time, our school year shepherds take a much-deserved break and the only way programming can continue is if parents step in!
This is a wonderful opportunity for you to touch lives, change hearts and draw kids closer to God!
How many opportunities allow you to make THAT kind of impact? And it’s a great way to experience Sunday Morning Live with your child!
Grab your spouse, partner, older child (rising seventh grader or older) or dear friend and make it extra fun to serve with someone you know!
All lessons and supplies are supplied/prepared for you – you just need a heart for God and a heart for kids!
Click here to sign up for Sundays.
- May 15 is last night of Wednesday night programming (Club 45, Zone, Jr Zone)
- May 19 is last Sunday of our regular Sunday Morning Live programming
Dr. Kara Powell recently published The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family and through her research and parent interviews, the power of parents apologizing to their kids quickly became clear. Here’s one thing that she has learned through her research:
What separates Christianity from every other religion is grace. All other religions believe we reach God through obedience and behaviors; in Christianity, God reaches us through unmerited grace.
If we want our homes to drip with grace, we as parents need to be quick to apologize. Confessing our mistakes to our kids and asking them to forgive us not only builds closer family relationships, it also helps our kids experience the closeness of God’s tender mercies.
So thanks to our research, I’ve started saying two words more frequently to my kids. I’m sorry.
“I’m sorry for the tone of voice I used when I asked you to empty the dishwasher.”
“I’m sorry that I misunderstood the conflict you were having with your brother and jumped to an unfair conclusion.”
“I’m sorry that I wasn’t sensitive enough to how tired you were from soccer.”
If you want to make your home a hub of grace, try the following:
1. Keep your personal antennae up for times when your own fatigue causes you to speak unkindly to your kids.
2. When you feel like you’ve wronged your kids, tell them that you’re sorry and ask for their forgiveness.
3. Make sure you are quick to extend forgiveness to your kids when they need to do the same.
According to our research, saying “I’m sorry” isn’t a sign of parental failure. It can be a bridge to greater family intimacy and faith.
I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIRV)
Sunday, May 12 will be your child’s last Sunday as part of Children’s Ministries. We will be hosting a reception for graduating 5th graders and their families from 10:30–11 a.m. in Room 303 of the Wesley Center. We will have refreshments, cake and a gift for your graduate from Children’s Ministries. Register here.
Following the reception, we invite you to worship with your 5th grader at our 11 a.m. Sanctuary service, where they will be recognized and prayed over as they move on to the next chapter of their faith journey and transition to Merge Youth Ministries.
Reminder: There will be a Merge Information Night at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 19 in the Magnolia Building for all rising 6th graders and their families. Following this, is the super fun, super crazy “Messy Night” that the rising 6th graders are invited to participate in along with the rest of our middle and high school students. For more info click here.
Note: Now that they are graduating from Children’s Ministries, we’d love to have them still be a part of what we do, by serving in Children’s Ministries! If your rising 6th grader has an interest in serving on Sunday mornings at either 9:30 or 11 a.m. with preschoolers or lower elementary kids, please email Kristin Passath.
by Sarah Anderson
I remember being told from day one of parenting, that the years would go by fast. That I should be “numbering my days.” And like all mothers, I accepted the nostalgic platitude, and then went about worrying how I would make it through the next 24 hours—the immediacy of the uncharted days before me feeling more pressing than the far off “some day” when my kids would be independent and self-sufficient. I have heard all the advice and been offered all the insights. And still, at the time, they didn’t seem quite tangible.
Until now. We are only a few months out from entering a new season, when we are on the brink of big change. Now, I am realizing more than ever, my days really are numbered. I find myself wondering if I did enough in the years leading to this one. I am tempted to look backwards at how I’ve done so far. Numbered days have a way of doing that to you. The passing of time will make us panicky about how much we have left and insecure about the time that’s already passed.
A couple of weeks ago, the Christian calendar entered the season of Lent. Traditionally, this is a time, like Advent with Christmas, where our days are numbered and leading towards a marked event. Unlike Advent, Lent is more nostalgic, more internally reflective. It too is leading to something, but the road is marked with sacrifice and contemplation.
Lent prompts us to reflect on who we are and what needs to change. It causes us to look backwards and do a self-inventory, to be honest about where we have fallen short, and to be transparent about the parts of us that got the better of us—but shouldn’t have. But if we aren’t careful, Lent can turn into a morose miserable time so focused on what we are giving up, on the ashes of our lives, that we forget Easter is just around the corner.
In the same way, numbering our days in parenting has the potential to trap us in our expectations of who we should have been without looking forward with expectancy to what could be. It keeps us looking backwards with nostalgia rather than forward with willingness. And if we aren’t careful, this can ruin us.
Looking back we can make ourselves miserable thinking, “I should have been more patient, I should have been less frustrated, I should have spent more time playing instead of scolding, helping instead of critiquing. I should have read more, prayed more, played more catch, and just had more fun.” And although reflection can be good, it cannot be where we stay.
Self-inventory at Lent isn’t the end of the story. Easter is.
Numbered days aren’t the end of our parenting story. Embracing what’s next is.
We aren’t numbering our days in our parenting so we can beat ourselves up about the job we should’ve been doing. We number our days so we can journey forward, hopeful that a God who makes resurrection possible can make something beautiful with what we have left—and what is coming next. Easter is a celebration of newness. And change can be too.
I will look at the time I have left not as a sentence, but as an invitation. An invitation for a new start in a new stage. Beauty can come from ashes. What happens next can always be better than what’s happened before.
And I know that if I can learn to be present in the days I have left, I am doing the best job at preparing for the days I have coming.