Once upon a time in a land not so far away school let out for the summer. Children beamed with joy and parents hugged and cherished their bright little faces. Summertime is here, they exclaimed as they held hands and skipped off the school grounds! They thought it’s a time for slower days, relaxed schedules, sipping lemonade on the porch and whiling the time away. A vision of pure perfection. That is until he third day of summer vacation appeared and suddenly a little voice yelled out brashly “I’m BORED!” The blissful happy playing with toys, the reading of the books, the joy of sibling-love all comes to a crashing halt. Parents wince and know it’s all over. They hang their heads in defeat. Some parents kick it into overdrive and try to entertain the little rascals, but everything they try is still BORING! Parents are exhausted, but then what’s that? A bright twinkling of salvation on the horizon. Could this be the answer to these worn out parent’s prayers? OMG, some parent was coherent enough to come up with the genius idea of a Summer Bucket List!
For those of you unfamiliar with the Summer Bucket List, it is a list that you put together with lots of activities, places to go and things to do over the summer that you can do with your child. The list should have as many items on it as there are days in the summer, so you don’t run out of things to do! Hang it up some place where all can see. You can plan your days around the schedule. You can stop the “I’m Boreds” in their tracks! Best of all, you can even start your Bucket List out with the activity to make the List! Brilliant! One time slot taken care of!Some things to know about Summer Bucket Lists. They are highly effective with children 2-10. The kids eat it up! They want to tick every box on the list and won’t mind spending the time to complete the list. For kids of this age range, many of the things on your list will be free or virtually no charge! Bonus! Things like building a sandcastle, making popsicles or going to the library are fun and affordable for everyone! This is the stuff memories are made out of!
But, what happens when your kids get older? Tweens still need some corralling. They would love to sit in front of the computer and play video games all day, every day, but we all know that’s not a good option. The List looks different of course. Storytime at the Library doesn’t usually make the cut, but Reading Challenges many libraries offer will be accepted. As the kids grow older, the items on the list can get a bit more expensive. Things like Laser Tag or Bowling and many times they will want to include a friend to go places. There are still plenty of free things to do and you get to experience most of them with your child. Again, another opportunity to make memories.
Then there comes a time, when your tween is now a teen. You’ve gotten in the hang of the Summer Bucket List and look forward to spending the time with your children going through each activity. But, suddenly, your teen wants to do things only with their friends and not you. Punch in the gut. They have a summer job and there is no time to do all the fun activities you have put on the List. Sad Face. In all honesty, you will probably do a few things together, but you may as well use that Bucket List to line the bottom of the bird cage.
After the initial blow that your children are growing up and that summer looks different now. It might seem bleak and lonely. You loved going on a picnic with the kids and orchestrating the Lemonade Stand for them. However, do not fret. A new day is dawning and it’s actually brilliant! Are you ready? You make yourself a Summer Bucket List! Think of all the fun things YOU like to do and make yourself a List. Maybe you still go on that picnic but invite a friend or bring a good book! You can take a bike ride to the local farmer’s market or attend a performance, and no one is whining. Wait a second, do you hear that? It’s the sound of peace and quiet. You may have forgotten what that sounds like. Yes, it’s true, as kids grow and become more independent, it can feel like a sad time because they don’t need you like they once did, but you need to look at this time differently. The sky is the limit on what you can do, learn, become in this time for you. You can set a few goals for the summer and make the activities to achieve them be a fun Summer Bucket List item. For example, getting more fit could include a walk in a local park. Take advantage that this time can be for you and don’t totally dismiss those teens, they will likely circle back around and join you for some summer fun too.
Summer Bucket Lists serve different purposes over time. At first, they help you keep your sanity and provide quality activities for your younger children. For the middle years, they become a good time management tool and then the Summer Bucket List becomes a list just for you, filled with things you like to do! So, whatever season of life you are in, sit back and enjoy the days while you check off the boxes of your Summer Bucket List.
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.