By ERIN TURNER
There is a great debate amongst parents about how to handle the last days of summer with their school aged children. Just the other day, a good friend of mine asked on Facebook for advice on it because her household was divided. Being a good and responsible mom, she wanted to ease her kids back into the school routine by having them go to bed sooner and get up earlier.
Reading the comments in response to the question was interesting. Many agreed with her and thought the kids should move into a more school-like routine a few weeks before school actually started. Others were struggling with the same issue. While others felt she should let them stay up and then would learn a hard lesson when school started.
There were no concrete solutions and I’m not sure what she’ll end up deciding. It is a subjective topic based on your situation and every child and household is different. For our household, it has always been a cut and dry decision–one I’ve always felt strongly about. And probably not what you would expect from a mom who is normally a sleep nazi from September thru June.
Let me explain.
I’m sitting here on a late summer night. The air is thick as the sun is playing on the horizon trying to extend this beautiful day as long as it can before slowly slipping away and placing us in a pinkish, purplish, golden haze of sunset. The birds are alive again after hiding out after a long, hot day. My ears perk as I hear not only the sweet sounds of the birds, but the sweet sounds of my sons playing together and enjoying these sacred days of freedom.
I love all the seasons but summer has something no other season can provide me–almost three months of free time with my boys. Spring, fall and winter are all lovely seasons and I adore each one for what they provide. But none of them compare to summer where I can be with my children from sun up to sun down, listen to their chatter, watch them create wacky inventions, enjoy their company as we work in the garden and listen to their inner most thoughts over a bonfire once darkness falls over the mountains with no thoughts of bedtime looming anywhere.
These are moments I cherish as a mom and know they are in limited supply. As each summer draws to an close, my heart becomes heavy with the keen knowledge that the next time summer rolls around, my boys will be another year older and eventually there will be a summer that the chatter and the laughter will be but mere memories. So I selfishly hang on to summer as long as humanly possible!
I’m the mom who lets her kids stay up late until just before school starts. Since I know they won’t be taking life-impacting tests that week, I figure they will adapt and transition to their school routine just fine that first couple of days. We’ve done this since our oldest was starting kindergarten 10 years ago and all our kids survived the first week of school just fine. Therefore we eek out the very last precious moments of summer with our boys.
As these final weeks of summer approach us, I don’t worry about inching my boys closer to a bedtime for school. Rather, I worry about getting in all our “Summer Bucket List” items–many of those include sleep outs in the fort, having ice cream at 10pm, swimming in the great Montana rivers, outdoor games after dark and campfires until midnight. In our house, there is no debate about early bedtimes in the summer. Nope, we will be living big every moment from now until the school bell rings in a few weeks!
Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family. Read more of Erin’s blogs about homesteading, farming, homemaking and other fun things at TurnerFarmLiving.com