With summer in full swing and four kids at home, it feels as if I have spent most of my time in the car chauffeuring the kids to and from activities. Baseball fields, swimming pools, summer training programs and camps have consumed our days, and as constant and busy as it is, I know that I am going to greatly miss this someday. It has been a whirlwind of activity, and summer is always the time when working from home becomes a bit more difficult to balance.
As I write and dream up this month’s issue of the magazine from my home office, I realize that I’m feeling guilty that my kids are home and off-the-clock, probably playing video games. I feel that internal struggle to set up another activity for them because too much idle time bothers me, and in reality it shouldn’t. I know in my heart (and studies are backing me up on this): Kids need downtime. It’s incredibly healthy and necessary for kids to have time to recuperate from the busy schedules they keep.
As a child, I had countless hours of downtime, and it helped me to become more creative in how I spent my time and allowed me to appreciate the fun stuff when it did occur.
My oldest son and I recently discussed how over-scheduled and busy his generation is and how it is leading to burnout of things that they once loved. Social media feeds for both teens and adults are filled with sharing just how busy we are. He had some pretty great insights on how having constant activity, specialty training and entertainment creates a feeling of dissatisfaction because when everything is commonplace—nothing is special.
So, my son is teaching me to slow down and to do less— to try to have a summer like I used to have of less scheduling and more fire-pits, catching fireflies, fishing in the neighborhood pond, riding bikes, putting on a sprinkler in the backyard for my younger ones, and yes, some laying around to do a little bit of nothing. And who knows, summer might just do what it was supposed to do—refresh us so we can take on our schedules once again.