Summer is a fantastic time for kids. It’s hot outside, school’s out, and their days can be spent on leisure and fun. And that’s how must of a child’s summer should be spent: pursuing unstructured outdoor activities. But, that doesn’t mean that every responsibility in life goes out the window and life just becomes one big party for 10 weeks.
There’s an interesting phenomenon about parenting these days in that we tend to expose our children (or allow them to be exposed) to mature images and ideas earlier and earlier, but we shield them from responsibility until later and later. It seems like we should do just the opposite: protect their innocence until later in life, while preparing them for adulthood earlier. And that’s my goal with my kids. To that end, while I make sure that their summers are full of trips to the pool, vacation, and backyard fun with their friends, I also give them some structure to make sure they are maintaining and growing in responsibility. Last summer, in addition to daily workouts for all the kids, I had my two older boys read about three masculine men and report on what they learned. You can check out the details in this post.
This summer, I’ve changed it up a bit. All four of my kids have a Summer Project that has four components: getting stronger, developing their chosen skills, doing chores, and learning.
Pushups – 5 sets of max reps – try to add one each day
Lunges – 5 sets of 10 reps – add one each day
Baseball/softball – 50 hits from tee or side toss each day.
Each child has a daily chore that rotates (taking out trash, loading/unloading dishwasher, picking up the main rooms, etc.)
Read assigned chapters from The Family Book of Manners. For each assigned chapter, write out the following:
- A summary of the chapter
- A list of the manners covered
- An example of how to use each manner in a real-life scenario
- Pick one manner or application of the manner that you need to improve or implement in your life and explain how you plan to improve or implement it, making sure to identify upcoming situations where you will have the chance to implement it.
Week One – Chapters One and Two – due July 20
Week Two – Chapters Three and Five – due July 27
Week Three – Chapters Seven and Eight – due August 10
They won’t actually do this everyday, as life will get in the way plenty. But, it gives structure and direction to some of their discretionary time, keeps their mind sharp, and improves their physical abilities. I chose the book based on the needs of our particular family. My kids are ages 8-12, and they’re spending more and more time with friends and at houses other than our own. This creates a need for them to understand and express good manners. While there may be better books on the topic than The Family Book of Manners, it’s a solid book that is an easy read for a kid. If you’re looking for a way to keep your kids from going to mush this summer, think about incorporating some of these ideas. Let me know how it works. Hope you and yours have a great summer. This is the man’s life.
*If you enjoyed this post, do two things: (1) enter your information below to subscribe to my mailing list and get my free report, Why Men Need a Mid-life Crisis, and (2) use the share buttons below to share this article on social media. Also, if you’re looking for a jump-start in achieving your health and fitness goals, check out my new eBook, The Man Strong Blueprint: A Beginner’s Guide to the Body You Need. Thanks.