Top 3 Tips for Making Thoughtful and Intentional Summer Plans for the Whole Family. 

As we settle into Spring, many families begin to carve out their summer plans. If you and your family are lucky enough to have the flexibility to have options for activities and travel, this is a great opportunity to create an overarching philosophy or strategy for your family’s summer plans. Given that families face a myriad of choices, day camps, sleep away camps, summer jobs, travel as a family, travel as a family with friends, and good old-fashioned time at home, it is ideal to schedule some time to have a thoughtful and intentional planning session. Here are our top 3 tips to organize a successful summer strategy meeting: 

1. Schedule time to sit down as a family and gather feedback about how each family member would like to spend the summer. 

Questions to ask include: 
“What is one goal you have for this summer?” 
“What proportion of time would you like to spend in structured and unstructured activities?” 
“How important is it to have down-time this summer?” 
“Are there are ways in which you would like to challenge yourself this summer?” 

2. Invite family members to make a pitch for one activity or experience that they would like to have this summer. 

Prep family members in advance of the meeting and advise them to do some research and develop a proposal for their preferred experience. This is an excellent opportunity to practice research, public speaking, and persuasion skills. Proposals could take on any form, PowerPoint, art, poetry, etc. 

3. Ask yourself whether your plans align with your family core values. 

If you haven’t had a chance to chart your core values, stay tuned for a future blog post, but in short, ask yourself, “At the end of the summer, would these plans, as we laid them out, fit with our goals for our family?” For example, if you value time together as a family, but there are limited opportunities for the family to rest and play together, it might be time to revisit the plan. 

Above all else, take your time and consider summer planning an ideal opportunity to stop, reflect, and point your family in the direction of growth that fits with your overall goals and vision for each family member and the group as a whole. 

By Laura C. Kauffman, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist