06/17/2015 12:15 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2016

22 Ways I'm Gifting My Kids a Happy Summer

1. I'll make rainbow pancakes for breakfast.

2. I'll let them help cook -- even if the word "rainbow" is right there in the recipe title.

3. I'll love the days that we change straight from pajamas to swimsuits back into pajamas.

3. I'll let them collect dandelion bouquets, spray the hose, water the flowers, make chalk balls, walk barefoot.

4. I'll skip saying we don't need those, stay dry, stay clean.

5. I'll start a movie after bedtime.

6. We'll sit around bonfires, after dark, until it's cold enough to need sweatshirts. And then we'll sit within the stillness of those first few minutes after it's out, within the slip between trading the light of the fire with the light of the moon.

7. We'll burn marshmallows for s'mores -- lots of them.

8. We'll go to movies in the park and music in the park and Farmer's Markets in the park. We'll go to pretty much anything in the park.

9. We'll ride our bikes a little further than I want to.

10. We'll cover the driveway in chalk and I won't say a word about the dust and the clothes and the knees and the fingerprints. But I will say a lot about the furrowed brows and the focused eyes and the side-by-side-ness and the colors and the sound of chalk against driveway. (Which is somehow so much better than on chalkboard. Why is that?)

11. I'll teach them how to make the ultimate summer decision: Pool or beach. (Pool if you want to swim, beach if you want to play.)

12. We'll go on a hike, early in the morning, before it gets too hot, even if anyone -- someone -- more-than-one someone says they don't want to go.

13. We'll play cards games. Lots of them.

14. We'll stop at lemonade stands. I'll keep extra coins in the car so we can all get lemonade. Every time. And leave a hard-earned tip.

15. We'll have a lemonade stand of our own. Maybe even more than one.

16. We'll spend a whole day fishing.

17. We'll go for walks after dinner.

18. We'll take the dog with us on more outings than not.

19. We'll have ice cream for dinner.

20. We'll sleep outside -- all of us.

21. I'll say yes when they ask, "Can we have a sleepover?"

22. And I'll say no when they ask, "Do you know what we should do?"


My kids have officially traded school days for summer ones, and I still don't actually have a plan for weaving between moments of work with moments of summer, for tying summer with a neat bow.

In the earlier days of my young motherhood, this would have been a disaster. But today I'm thinking it's more about choosing slow, choosing grateful, choosing s'mores. Here's to mornings in pajamas and evenings by the fire.

This post was first published on Galit's blog, These Little Waves.

Check out Galit's book, Kindness Wins, a simple, no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online.