His completion of 3rd grade was understated. These transitions are much more pronounced for us than they are for our children, as they have no idea what it’s like to raise a child, watching them learn and grow in what feels like the blink of an eye. I avoid talk of him being a 4th grader. I have learned from years past that even the most well-intentioned build-ups over the course of a summer can have unintended consequences involving undue stress. If we look deeply, we may find that such discussion is an attempt to relieve our own ambivalence about the passage of time. Many children won’t even ask who or what they “are” -- they know! But if they do, a gentle discussion that begins with asking them why they feel the need to know, or how they would characterize themselves, is a good starting point.
We have been engaging in a lot of creative projects and play. Cooking, baking, playing cards, playing basketball, playing music, and being outdoors with our dogs are a few of the things we like to do as a family. We have doubled up, over the past couple of weeks, on time spent doing these sorts of things. This is nourishing for all of us, and appears to bring real comfort to our son. It’s often when our children's minds are most at ease that the pathway to their inner lives are most accessible. Encourage them to communicate. Their answers may be surprising! More importantly, it will free them up to enjoy their time off as well as create space for deep connection.
Bed time has remained consistent. Summer is the season in which all the work from the previous year has time to grow deep roots. Just as we would give a sapling the right conditions to grow into a strong tree, so we do with our son. Plenty of sleep and winding down at the same time every night is invaluable, including -- whenever possible -- throughout travels, entertaining house guests, an increase in sleepovers, and all the other fun that accompanies this time of year. Be sure to allow plenty of time for rest, and don't be afraid to schedule it in like you would anything else.
Happy Summer! Don’t forget to celebrate the Solstice with a special meal outdoors, a sunset hike, or any other ritual that is meaningful to your family. If you don’t have one yet, create it now -- it’s never too late!
*Curious about parenting based on the temperaments? We love these resources:
The Question of Temperaments.
Authentic Parenting - A Four Temperament Guide To Understanding Your Child and Yourself.
The Temperaments and the Adult-Child Relationship.