Why the Lazy Days of Summer Are Actually the Most Memorable for Kids

Mother and daughters eating sandwiches on car boot

Summer offers a window for travel and time off, and parents often try to provide spectacular adventures for their kids during this open season. We plan trips, sign kids up for camps, and attempt to make sure they have every possible awesome experience we can think of.

While a parent’s motives may be on point, there’s no need to run ourselves or our kids crazy creating what we think will be perfect memories of summer. There’s also no need to spend money we don’t have taking vacations because we’re afraid our kids will feel cheated if we don’t.

The memories our kids will cherish aren’t particularly the ones we might expect. While it would be nice to take them backpacking across Europe, the hazy, lazy days of normal living are what summers (and life) are made up of for kids.

The problem with awesome

Writer Tsh Oxenreider traveled around the world with her children for months, and I was surprised to hear what she had to say on the Shauna Niequist Podcast when asked what she learned on the trip. It’s not the big events, and there were plenty, that her children talk about. Their favorite memories were the long stays in unremarkable houses, wandering through fields, or feeding chickens in the backyard.

Oxenreider’s book, “At Home in the World; Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe,” relates their journey, but what she learned was the times they stopped to catch up on work and school and just live were her kids’ favorite times.

She and her husband attribute this to the problem of awesomeness. Oxenreider says, “When everything is awesome, nothing is awesome,” explaining why too many over-the-top plans piled on top of each other fail to register awe from our kids. When we stack up event after event trying to make sure our kids have the best time 24 hours a day, everything starts to lose its luster.

Podcast host and writer Niequist recognizes this in her kids…

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