My boys will start their spring break on Friday. Often, as parents, we feel so much pressure to give our kids spectacular vacations. We are constantly barraged with images on social media of families and friends happily traipsing across America while we are stuck at home. It’s hard not to feel like we are letting our kids down if the biggest outing of our day consists of going to the grocery store.
This pressure to have bigger and better family vacations probably won’t change. What I can offer you is that maybe it isn’t where you spend your time, it’s the quality and depth of your time that actually matters to your child.
My favorite and most impactful memories of my childhood are the ones in which my parents spent time connecting with me doing things they enjoyed. My Dad used to read Laura Ingalls Wilder books and other classics to me and my sister. Hands down, the best memories I have with him. My Mom was more quiet and I liked being near her. I would follow her from room to room and being in her presence comforted me. I also liked it when she played catch with me in the backyard. While I was never a passionate softball player, I knew she was and doing this together was fun. It wasn’t about becoming an elite athlete, it was about being together.
Instead of spending lots of money on an exotic vacation, consider spending more time with your kids in creative ways at home. Even if you are a busy, working parent, try to carve out an extra ten or fifteen minutes during spring break week to do something you enjoy with your kids each day. It might be an easier week to do so without the daily pressures of homework looming over us all.
When I truly am at a loss for how to spend time with my boys, I focus on eating meals with them consistently. It seems this is when the most natural conversations occur between us. The only caveat is that I accept that these conversations are mostly sports related. For me, it is absolutely worth it and time well spent.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent