The unstructured months of summer offer young children so many opportunities that the school year cannot. Time for sports and swimming, free play, and being out-of-doors all come to mind. And, of course, family time is very important.
As we plan the summer ahead, we want to keep in mind a special kind of family time that summer vacation makes possible: the chance for siblings and cousins to bond.
During the school year it seems that everyone is pulled in different directions. Even siblings who live under the same roof may see each other mostly in passing as they head off to different classrooms and activities. And though we often get together with relatives during the holidays, that time is constrained by meals and other rituals.
Summer, on the other hand, can allow wide swaths of unstructured time for cousins and siblings to have fun together. At the beach, the park, on a camping trip or in the backyard -- whatever the venue, free time to play together is a gift. After all, these sibs and cousins are the next generation, and they will know each other from childhood through adulthood, and hopefully into old age. If given the chance to bond when young, they can develop deep, lifelong friendships.
These early years, before summer sleep-away camps and other big kid busyness, are the time to cultivate the bonds between members of your family's next generation. And it's not hard to do. Just get those kids together and let them play.
Another reason to say, hooray for summer!
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