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Summer time crazy

Summer's official start was just two days ago. With it, we kicked off summer camp at our lovely farm with helping a local camp get horseback riding experiences for their campers. While it is a fun experience, it is tiring and prevents us from having time to do school consistently. Days off need to remain days off so we can recover. Our entire schedule is changed and some is even unpredictable. We know which days we go to help with camp. We know the times. We know the instructor. We don't know which horses will be used, who other volunteers are, or which jobs we will be doing. We also have to work in other activities like birthday parties, time with friends, mom and dad time, grocery shopping, my school work, my new position as an editor of a local magazine, and so much more. Time at home is sporadic and harried.

The lack of consistent school schedule and expectations result in difficulty for Will. My inability to be wholly present all the time presents a challenge for Kae. Mack also struggles with not knowing what is going on when. Rory accepted an actual job as volunteer coordinator throughout camp which means his down time isn't really his, either. He also may have inherited a passion for rescuing living things. Recently, a pair of guinea pigs who are still adjusting and a friend whose family flaked out of a birthday party. My job, on top of all the others, is to help them adjust to this nebulousness within chaos.

In OUR house, rather than choose what the kids do when and how, we try to empower them to make their own choices about their time where possible. Since they are being asked to do much more activity throughout the summer months, we are encouraging this autonomy even more and trying to ensure they get to choose their downtime engagement. While Will wants to know what is happening every second of every day, allowing him flexibility to choose his own tasks during defined time periods helps him accept the lack of expectations. Mack needs slightly more oversight to help him remain in control of his body but autonomy to choose within a list is helpful. Kae requires much direction. Not only does she struggle with me being pulled in many directions, her ability to self-regulate and entertain is not quite as developed. Rory very much appreciates the down time, provided he can drive the car whenever we go places.

By listening to each kid and adapting to their needs, we can more effectively meet them where they are and help them grow. We ask each of them to push just slightly past their typical comfort zones to help them develop new skills. We stand back and observe and step in only when we see more significant struggle. Allowing them to experience frustration and try to address it on their own helps them learn while they have us as a safety net. It helps us see how well they can do without our help, too which encourages our ability to hand over more and more autonomy to them. They will eventually leave our house. We must ensure they know how. Each one of them needs a different kind of direction and support to accomplish this task, however.

How are your kids doing with summer? How can I support you through this weird time of year between milestones? What are some of your favorite summer experiences?

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