1. Put an extra two dollars in your vehicle. Hide it in a spot where you won’t be tempted to spend it on something else. This is your lemonade money.
We recently moved into town, so one of the very first things my daughters wanted to do this summer was host a lemonade stand. My oldest spent hours planning designs for the stand and crafting a sign and baking cookies to serve along side the lemony deliciousness. Now, our children do not want for a thing, so one of the rules we put in place was that they would donate a good portion of their sales to a local crisis pregnancy center.
They set up their stand at 9:00 and very quickly had a sale with a nice donation to their cause. Then, they waited…and waited…and waited. They watched and waived as cars went by and…nothing. It was heart-breaking to watch and while they did have a pretty good time with the very few customers they got to serve, watching cars pass by all day without giving the girls a second thought was tough. They came back inside with a jug full of lemonade and containers full of cookies. And, let’s face it, that kind of stuff sitting around my house is not good for anyone.
This summer you must, must, must, stop at every lemonade stand you see.
2. Take your children to visit their grandparents. I grew up living in the same town as my grandparents. I didn’t know what a blessing that was until I had children. Start packing now.
3. Teach them to play cards. It’s cheap. It’s easy. You can play anywhere. This skill will prepare them well for dorm life in college, (more importantly, so will the conversations you have while you play.)
4. Give them cousin time. Lots of it. As much as you can. These are the friends that will stand by them through moves and awkward stages, through thick and thin. Foster those relationships from the moment they’re born.
5. Let them get dirty. I once let my children swim in the ditch in the pouring rain in their church clothes. Now, I wouldn’t let them cover themselves with mud every day, but once in a while? Certainly! Clothes wash.
6. Feed them ice cream and sno cones. Because when they get one, you do too.
7. Read to them. Please. Scroll down the list of Newberry Award winners and just pick one. Get on Pinterest and search “books for 3rd graders” or “chapter books for girls.” Read whatever you loved as a child. Just read.
8. Paint something. Go to a garage sale and find something cheap and made of wood. Choose a crazy color of paint. Sand it down and paint it together.
9. Plant something. Buy a 10 cent package of seeds and mark out a place in the garden for little hands to work. When they forget to water their plants and they all die, buy another package of seeds and go at it again.
10. Be kind. Do something for your neighbor’s good. Every day. It doesn’t have to be anything big and it doesn’t have to cost a thing. There need not be any planning either. Pick up twigs in someone’s yard after a storm. Take your neighbor a piece of the cake you shared at supper. Be the house where the neighborhood kids can play and the parents know they will be safe. Take someone’s cart back into the grocery store. Help them load their bags into their car. Find something to do today.
And finally, a little extra must do…Let them be bored. Resist the temptation to solve all of their problems or to fill each moment of the day with activity. Out of the depths of boredom comes splendid creativity.