Eight ideas for intentional family time this summer

Published on July 01, 2022

As my daughter’s preschool graduation day loomed, I noticed my heart becoming more anxious. The thought of her going to a larger school seemed daunting.  This little peanut with blonde curly hair looked so little bouncing into her Kindergarten orientation. 

I started thinking about how she would inevitably encounter more children of various ages. This would lead to new social situations and  would take her out of the house for a larger part of the day. I was becoming more acutely aware of what we were going to be facing as she transitioned to Kindergarten. It felt like stepping into a different world, a world I wasn’t sure any of us were ready for. 

It suddenly became less important to me that she could count past 20 or write her name neatly across the line. I now thought much more about her emotional and spiritual maturity.

In Jeremiah 17, we see a picture of a tree and its roots. We see how no matter the circumstances, the tree never failed to bear fruit.

 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8

As our children enter new seasons and step into new environments, we want to make sure they are rooted in Jesus and feel secure. They are sure to be presented with many new ideas and confronted with many different scenarios. Their hearts and minds are no doubt impressionable!

So now more than ever,  it’s crucial to provide a solid foundation at home.  I want my daughter to know without a doubt that no matter what she is facing on the playground, she is covered by Jesus. I want her to have confidence and security in the fact that her mother and father love her no matter what happened in the classroom that day. 

And in order to accomplish that, it’s necessary to be intentional, taking advantage of our time together this summer to build communication, establish trust and deepen her faith and knowledge of God. The time I spend with her helping her plant roots is more important than any social or academic preparation.

Will every day be an exciting adventure? Probably not! Will every activity I plan go as I hope? Doubtful! Should I get worked up if I do not check everything off my list? It’s not about having a picture- perfect summer. It is about fostering a relationship with your child. My hope is that when something happens at school she will want to share it with me when she gets home. And as she grows, I want our home to be a place where she comes for comfort. But above all else, 

But above all else, covering our children in prayer should be our first priority. Remind yourself that God is in control, and rest in the promise that he is with your child as they leave your care. 

Still feeling overwhelmed? Here are eight ideas to help jumpstart your routine this summer and give you a starting point for intentional time with your family:

1. Simple Things- Don’t miss opportunities to jump in muddy puddles after a rainy day or  visit a farm to pick fruit. Take day trips to the zoo or the aquarium, and visit your local library.

2. Milkshake Monday or Smoothie Saturdays-  Take 15 or 20 minutes to make a favorite smoothie or milkshake with your kids each week. Having a weekly date can turn into a tradition that can last well beyond summer. Use it as an opportunity to create something together and just talk. I typically pull from a jar of table topics or simply ask her what the sweetest part of her day was! 

3. Teamwork- Kids might not look forward to chores, but they do look forward to being a helper. Think of a few things you can do together. For example, I fold the laundry but my daughter can deliver it where it needs to go. I can separate the clothes and she can put the piles in the laundry machine. During dinner, there are things she can help me prep before we go outside after dinner to water our garden together. Working together and relying on each other is an important piece of the family foundation.

4. Grow Something- This doesn’t have to be a full-on garden! However, we do love growing our veggie garden. It is exciting to see what has materialized overnight and my daughter gets a kick out of eating a salad she grew. Even if you just plant a flower pot, it is still something to do together daily. This is also a great way to talk about being “rooted” in Jesus.

5. Pajama Days- When you see a rainy day in the forecast, how about skipping camp or activities to just simply hanging out? Keep your PJS on, and don’t worry about a schedule for the day. My daughter gets so excited when I tell her it’s a PJ day. A fun thing to do on PJ day is to play hide and seek with flashlights!

6. Starry Nights- Taking the time to sit outside under the stars is a wonderful way to talk about the greatness of God. Looking at the stars can be awe inspiring and a powerful tool to illustrate just how amazing Creator God is.

7. Family Memory Verse- Every week, we unveil a new memory verse at the dinner table. We say it every night in addition to our prayer. This helps start conversations about what the verse means and how it relates to our current lives or situations.

8. Fun Fridays- Sometimes, offices give employees half days or flex time on Fridays in the summer. We have adopted the same idea at our house. I try to finish all my work by Friday and sometimes, my husband joins us as well. We pick a farm or a park to visit, pack a bag of snacks, suntan lotion, and of course baby wipes! We set out on our own adventure. We find farm stands along the way, or a new bagel or ice cream shop to try. One time we found a dairy farm and bought some delicious cheese. Another time we visited a fairy trail in a nearby town. This doesn’t have to be  flashy or expensive, just try having fun and experiencing something new together.

In the end, these are the moments your children will remember. These are the lessons and experiences that will take root and provide for them a solid foundation. And chances are, you’ll feel a lot less anxious when that first day of school comes knocking. 

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Dina Deleasa-Gonsar

Dina is The creator, writer, speaker, and television personality behind the popular food blog DishItGirl.com. Dina Deleasa-Gonsar is known for sharing her family traditions and modern twists on recipes along with an inside look at her real-life as a mom and wife. When in the kitchen, Dina brings her recipes to life with her personal anecdotes and honest, quick wit. Whether she’s whipping up something quick for dinner or pulling out all the stops for a family celebration, she is inspiring at-home cooks to get creative and try dishes that will become a staple in their house. Dina knows life isn’t always glamorous, so she strives to keep her content relatable, making sure to dish out her real-life that goes on behind the social posts and media platforms. Her family is at the center of everything she does and this can be seen during her time on the E! Network show “Married to Jonas,” which she appeared on alongside her sister. 

More recently, she was named Best Home Cook by the Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family and has contributed her recipes and on air talent to the Today Show, The Good Dish, Guys Grocery Games on the Food Network, Inside Edition, GMA Online, Rachel Ray Online, Real Simple, as well as countless other media outlets. Dina has experience as both a co-host, in food segment demo’s, as well as commercial campaigns.

As a speaker and writer, Dina has also lent her recipes, family time solutions, and encouragement to numerous podcasts, conferences, and news articles. Most recently, joining the Christian Parenting team as one of their highlighted speakers for their virtual conferences and writing for their blog. In addition to coming alongside the Exhale Women’s Ministry as a devotional writer, and frequent podcast guest. It is part of Dina’s mission to encourage other people to seek opportunities to gather with others and make memories. To help parents see that there is magnificence in what they consider “mundane.” She hopes to fill people with “DishSpiraTion” both in and out of the kitchen.

Whether it’s a 4-course meal or simply breakfast for dinner, with DishItGirl, Dina hopes to keep it real, with real-good food along the way. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband, Brian, and daughter, Siena.

Read more about Dina

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