Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to School, But Still Time for Fun

Summer sports are coming to a rapid close as the beginning weeks of school rearrange our schedules. I love this time of year, especially in a few weeks when the weather gets considerably cooler and the leaves begin to change.

I also love this time of year because it’s easy to revel in the nostalgia of the season. I remember the excitement of getting ready for the first day of school—all the delicious new school supplies, new school clothes, maybe even a new backpack. Then school starts and after the first few days, you realize you’ve got about nine more months of homework to go.

I remember taking advantage of those last days when it was still light enough to play a good game of kick the can, baseball, or tag. It seemed those nights went by quickly and it wasn’t long before the darkness of winter settled in and kept us indoors longer than we liked.

I’m sending my first child to kindergarten this week! She’s very excited and I hope that she enjoys school as much as I did. I want her to look forward to this time of year, every year, without apprehension. Starting school is a big change for any kid, big or small. Participating in some family activities can help ease the transition process. Spending time together as a family can help you identify your child’s needs and or worries about going back to school.

It’s definitely a busy time, but there’s still time to enjoy the outdoors and fun activities of the fall season if we plan. Start planning right now to go on a leaf-color-changing drive up the canyon or just around the city parks. Take time to get in another barbeque or hot dog roast up the mountains. Pick vegetables out of your garden or go to a farmer’s market and have a delicious harvest dinner. Even going for walks as a family is a wonderful way to re-connect with nature and your family. Go soak up that brisk night air and run barefoot through the grass before it gets too chilly.

Try to remember what it felt like to be a kid—really, if more of us would do this, we’d be better prepared to help our own kids navigate through life. As school gets us all into the mode of “bookwork” remember to take time to play and enjoy the learning that goes on with unstructured play and make-believe.

Return to the neighborhood

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