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How to Connect with Your Kids this Summer

Do you want to squeeze out every drop of summer fun with your kids? It can be tricky to be intentional AND relaxed. The natural rhythms of our days can be the key to help us enjoy these days and find meaningful, and natural, connection points together as a family.

Summer is officially in full swing!

We hit the summer hard with late night swims and early morning fishing, a jam-packed week of VBS, playdates, popsicles, and lots of relaxing. We’ve enjoyed the change of pace and the warm Chicago weather, but if I’m honest, summer has felt a little frantic and its demands are catching up with me. Though I want to enjoy every minute the kids are on break, I have responsibilities and work that must be continued even amid the summer fun.

In an attempt to tame the wild and free days of summer, allowing for fun and function, my tendency is to gather every chore chart, summer planner, and kids’ schedule available. {My “summer” pinterest board gives evidence to that fact!}

But I also don’t want to over-regiment our summer, and I certainly don’t want to stuff our summer fun into a formula. The beauty of summer is the ability to kick back, live simply, and adventure together.

So how do we intentionally connect with our kids amid the responsibilities we juggle?

Two things help me intentionally connect with my kids during the carefree days of summer.


We don’t follow a schedule; we enjoy a rhythm. The difference is in the fluidity of rhythms. I struggle with summer schedules because in a life with kids, change happens frequently. Interruptions, changes of plan, and new ideas are regular, and holding to a schedule leaves me feeling stressed or behind. Rhythms, on the other hand, give us stability with a lot of flexibility; it’s a structure to flex around rather than a rigid regimen to keep.

We incorporate both a daily rhythm and a weekly one.

Connection Points

We all resolve to be intentional about connecting with our kids. What I often forget though, is authentic connection is organic and is a result of both the quantity and quality of time we spend with our kids. We can’t manufacture connections, so we must build in time with our kids. Quality time will come in the midst of the quantity time we spend with our kids.

If our kids are young, they most likely want to spend time with us. We may desire to spend time with them, too, but our choices don’t always reflect those feelings.

Too often we put them off while we finish one more thing, tell them we’ll play “in a little bit,” or fail to follow through because something came up.

“Just a second” is the refrain heard too frequently in our homes.

The trouble is, the thought of being intentional with our kids can feel overwhelming. How? When? What should I do? we ask, and with those three questions, we fall back into the cycle of feeling defeated, overwhelmed, and a not good enough parent. We throw in the towel before we even begin.

To make it easier to begin, choose connection points. Look at the rhythm of your days and weeks. When is a natural time to connect?

Our family started with three:

  1. Morning — We start our days with breakfast and Bible time. Don’t go for complicated, pick something you’ll stick with. This summer we’re reading a Scripture passage each day and memorizing specific verses and the catechism (using this kids’ resource). (You can find other family resources we’ve enjoyed here.)
  2. Noon — By noon, I don’t actually mean 12 o’clock but rather some time in the afternoon as it fits the rhythm of our day. My goal is 30 minutes of undistracted play with my kids. Thirty minutes might sound lame, but it gives me a starting point and a goal. Once I let go of distraction and focus on my kids, I can let the 30 minutes stretch longer. (Need some ideas for activities? I love these ideas, and I’ve pinned a bunch more here.)
  3. Night — Bedtime is a huge connection point for our family. Bath, books, and bed are our rhythm and probably one of the most opportune times for conversation — if everyone isn’t having a meltdown that is. 😉 Books engage and inspire us, and evening snuggles provide the space for honest conversation.

Connecting with our kids doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. Start simple and do your best to be consistent. We can connect with our kids while still fulfilling our responsibilities. We can enjoy our children and celebrate intentional connection and relationship with them!

Here’s to joy-filled summers!
Erika // erikadawson.com

Question for You ::

What is the biggest challenge you face in connecting with your kids?

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