School has ended and our kids are looking forward to two months of summer fun and learning. Our eldest child, Rica, is 11, and the youngest, Nadine, is 2 years of age. Considering that our four kids have different interests, talents and developmental needs, we are planning a different set of summer activities for each. For a quick view, they are summarized in the table below. Enclosed in parenthesis in the first column is the frequency of the mentioned activity, while the numbers enclosed in parenthesis after our child’s name is their respective age. Expected output for each activity is also indicated whenever applicable.

Papa Sez and I believe in what Stephen Covey (author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) has shared - i.e. without involvement there will be no commitment. So we made consultations with them, especially the school-aged kids, before finalizing this table to ensure that the planned activities captured their interests and the targets set are achievable. When asked about activities that they consider FUN to do, ideas from Rica and Leon kept coming.

They decided to discontinue formal art lessons from their Tito Jay because apparently Rica has been contemplating on guitar lessons that she wanted to request from Tito Jay.  They thought that two lessons from their uncle will be too much to ask. They even volunteered the household chores they wanted to learn this summer, so that our helper can relax a bit.  Humility aside, we realized that we have added two considerate beings on earth.

There are activities specific to a child for talent enrichment or skills development. Some activities are interactive while others would require them to work on their own. There are indoor as well as outdoor activities. It is obvious that we are trying to strike a balance among several considerations like fun/excitement, talent enrichment, skills development, learning, family bonding, budget and many others.

We have openly expressed our view about the negative effect of too much television viewing (computer use included) on child development but because we also recognize that in the information age, computer literacy is part of the need of growing children.  Therefore, a regulated computer time is permitted on top of the weekly movie time with the family.

The table may seem overwhelming with activities but please note the frequency of each such that the activities listed will not happen all together in a given week. Swimming lessons, for example, will be over in two weeks and will be replaced by another activity of their choice on the third week.

Rica is already preparing her weekly timetable, awaiting the final schedule of her piano lessons, and this will be featured in the next post. The agreement is for them to have a fun and fruitful summer but not to exhaust themselves too much and forfeit the main goal in the process. Leon’s checklist of activities and applicable expected output will also be prepared so that he is able to track his accomplishments.

The Computer Time Log is posted to effectively regulate computer use...They are already enlisted for their swimming lessons...Leon’s tomato seedlings are almost ready for transplanting...They are energized and eager to start the summer ball rolling!!!

Having a preprogrammed summer activities will help parents ensure a worthwhile summer experience for their kids. This will also help you identify what is expected of you and give you time to prepare. Having a line-up of ready activities will prevent your kids from bugging you with “We are so bored Mom, what do we do now?” Discussing the plan, especially with the older kids, will make them understand what to expect and what is expected of them.  Always remember: No Involvement, No Commitment!

On top of everything, be sure to have fun yourself…Have a happy summer!!!

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About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.