Honestly, I'm SO looking forward to summer... And I'm SO dreading summer!

I can tell my kids are "done" with school. For the last few weeks, they have listlessly been dragging themselves out of bed slogging through the final few days before the glorious end next week.

Yesterday, I drove the five kid carpool. As they unloaded from the car and the Principal greeted them with a chipper, "Hey, guys, only 5 days left!" I'm sure I heard a collective, "Ugh," as they exited the vehicle.

I'm excited for them to have down time, away from school and homework and sports and plays and all the other activities that keep them growing and learning. We all need time to "go offline" and recharge, which is why when my 12 year old daughter, Kylie, asked to go to "device free" sleep away camp for a month this summer, we said, "Yes." I can tell she craves the time that we had as kids, just exploring, making friends, eating meals unplugged, learning camp songs, creating skits and, wait for it, maybe even letting a little boredom be the mother of invention. They have down time at camp which is just that, down time, nothing planned, no activity to be shuttled to, just get out a book and read or write in a journal or go for a walk with a friend.

My middle son, Parker, age 14, will be starting high school in the Fall. He is so ready for the change, which is great to see. He's agreed that doing a bit of summer school (which I'm thrilled to overhear him refer to it as "camp") to get the mandatory reading out of the way.

I used to think I'd never make my kid "do summer school," but here's my dilemma and why I've pivoted from that. We all need downtime, but I know what would happen if left him to his own devices (literally, he would be on all the devices!) in the hours he's not attending summer school.... he'd sleep, eat, and play hours and hours of Fortnite. Yes, he will be playing some hoops this summer, but that is only for a few hours a week and while I sent him to sleep away camp last summer and he enjoyed it, there is only so much do-re-me to go around between camps and club tournaments and summer school, etc, so it forced us get creative!

So here's my plan for the summer with Parker (fingers crossed) and some advice I shared a few weeks back to some middle schoolers when I spoke to them about how to create a life of their dreams.

This summer pick ONE thing that you're curious about.... just ONE. (aside from Fortnite)

Hint to parents: What did you catch him doing in the backyard as an 8 year old?

  • Was he doing the "play by play" of his imaginary football game like last week's guest on our #RaisingAthletes Podcast, Episode #10: Chris McGee?
  • Was he drawing shoes for his favorite athletes, like our guest from Episode #7: D'Wayne Edwards?
  • Was he playing with legos? Or singing in the shower? Or helping the poor little bird who flew into the kitchen window?

What is he curious about? What could he sit and do for hours (if Fortnite wasn't an option)? These are hints as to what he really truly cares about. It's our job as parents to help them find a way to "dabble" in it.

In addition to Parker taking the mandatory reading class, I signed him up for a Music Production class and this is why.

Last year, on his own, he started a YouTube channel and was having so much fun creating, starring in, editing and producing his little show. One episode which involved him pouring an ice cold gallon of milk over his head has 13,000 views! FABULOUS!

And some point, though, he got his feelings hurt by all of the haters saying mean things and stopped doing it. (My secret wish is that this class will inspire him to create something again).

As for me, a few months ago, I applied for and was accepted into a "Podcast Fellowship with Seth Godin"! Who knew? It was designed for college students as something they can create within the course of the summer, instead of a lowly internship where they just shuffle papers. I proudly typed in my COLLEGE GRADUATION YEAR: 1993

And, bam! They accepted me. LOL. We've got the podcast up and running, but still have got SO much to learn. So might as well learn from the best! Bring it on, Seth (along with his Producer, Andrea)!

So, what are you and your kids getting curious about this summer? I'd love to hear all about it!

This Week on the #RaisingAthletes Podcast: Audrey Monke, 30+ Summer Camp Director

This week on the #RaisingAthletes Podcast, Audrey Monke, who is a 30+ year camp owner and director, parent of five and author & speaker at Sunshine-Parenting.com, and I spoke about the benefits of sending your athlete to a non-sports sleep away camp. There is nothing wrong with the sports specific ones as well, but also so good for our kids to have time to unwind, unplug and just be kids! It flies by so fast, let's let them enjoy the ride.

For those parents who are #RaisingAthletes and are trying to figure out how to tackle their summer so their kids will have a little bit of growth with a lot of relaxation and some simple ideas on ways to connect with them, check out this week's chat!

Audrey Monke

Speaker, Writer, Podcast Host, Summer Camp Director for 30+ years and Mother of 5

IG & Twitter: @Sunshine.Parenting

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