I'm pretty much looking forward to Summer right after the ball drops on New Year's Eve — Winter is not my happy place. And in Michigan, where we live, we have to wait a long time for that stubborn snow to melt and the birds to chirp again. Once the weather finally breaks (even after the snow showers in April), my whole family sprints outdoors. While the warm weather does have something to do with why I get so excited for Summer, it's not the real reason. For our family, especially my first-grade son, Summer is a well-deserved break. He finally gets to chill out and not let the pressures of school overwhelm him.
You see, my son was born laid-back. He's always been naturally easygoing and calm . . . for the most part, of course. I mean, he is a kid. But when he started kindergarten, everything changed. Today, school is rigorous for kids, even starting in kindergarten, and my son feels the pressure daily. I can see it; I can feel it; and let me tell you, I can hear it. The days are so long for these little kids — their growing bodies, their developing brains, and their evolving emotions. Usually, they only get one recess per day where they are given the time to remember that they're still little and can run free. For the rest of the day, they're expected to sit in their desks and learn, learn, learn.
This is tough on my son. As a stereotypical firstborn, he wants to please his teachers all of the time, and I can see he finds it exhausting. Every day, he comes tearing through our home like a tornado after school. He's so sick and tired of sitting still and behaving well all day that his emotions boil over. While this is incredibly difficult for me to parent (I've tried it all), I also don't blame him.
I only started to learn how to read when I was in first grade. My son's been reading since kindergarten and now is learning how to write stories, subtract, and more. I'm grateful that his teacher gives her students many breaks (I love her), but the rigor is still overwhelming for him. I'm so ready to watch my son do nothing but play this Summer. I'm not going to over-schedule him in activities or set up times each day where he should be doing learning activities, either. Nope, in our house, Summers are for a break.
So, instead of the pressures from school, I'll let him wake up slow and spend the mornings just hanging out. After his chores are done, if he wants to watch a cartoon or two, that's fine by me. Then, the rest of the day will be filled with the typical Summer fun that we had when we were kids. Speeding down the slip-and-slide, jumping into the neighbor's pool, helping me with the garden, and running through the sprinklers will fill his day. There won't be any school to stress him out or perfect behavior to abide by. Finally, I'll have my fun-loving son back.
While we're not quite to Summer vacation yet here in The Mitten State, it'll be worth the wait. Once the weather finally turns, my son will be able to run wild and free, too — just as a 7-year-old boy should. Without the stress of school weighing him down, his only worries will be what flavor popsicle he should enjoy after lunch.