Summers are a time to unwind — keep kids’ schedules clear

I’m a winter baby, so you won’t see me lamenting about how much I’m enjoying the 90-plus degree heat on social media (although you might definitely catch me praising the Metropolitan Transportation Authority or my office manager for cranking up the air conditioning). Still, when I think of summer, my brow unfurls as I immediately sense the feeling of … peace. The lazy, hazy days that just fly by, the nights without homework or studying, the days without firm wake times (at least for the kids).

I have a set schedule all year, no matter what I’m doing, and I’ve always been an early riser, so when I can get up and get ready for work in a silent house, without the hustle and bustle of everyone getting out on time, it’s a joy. And every night that I don’t have to ask “did you finish your homework?” or “do you have a test tomorrow?” — well, those are just beautiful.

Another benefit of summer? I don’t cook the same way I do the rest of the year. Salads, sandwiches, and pizza are fine by me. I don’t have to live by a school schedule, which means, if dinner or breakfast is late, who cares? I certainly don’t. In fact, I think I may not cook anything this entire summer.

Some parents literally freak out wondering how they will keep their kids busy and learning, but how about we leave some of that up to them, if not most? When kids are young, throw them a box of crayons or take them to the playground — or better yet, a sprinkler, and they are happy for hours. But as they get older, do they need us to scheduling their activities so closely? I rather they get creative and figure out how they would like to spend their time. Yes, maybe they will actually get bored or restless … but maybe they’ll also figure out how to deal with that or even learn something about themselves by choosing to read or paint, or ride their bike or make a website, or learn to play the guitar or write a story — or a million other things they could learn to do if they weren’t so tightly scheduled round the clock.

Kids will only be kids for so long. One day, as if in the blink of an eye, they will grow into adults who will likely remain scheduled for decades. There’s no need to rush growing up just yet.

I hope kids all over the city take this summer to sit by a lake and watch the fish, blast their favorite song and sing unabashedly, have cereal for dinner and then stay up late, spend hours upon hours in the pool and then take a nap, listen to the crickets early in the morning as they draw a pretty picture, catch fireflies in a jar and marvel at their light, run on the beach, play baseball in the park, and read a book under a towering tree. Those are the moments to cherish, and after a successful school year, they’ve earned it … and so have you!

Danielle Sullivan is a writer living in New York City. Follow her on Instagram @Deewrite.