Doffing the Late-Afternoon Routine

Summer.  The season of swimming pools and family vacations.  Of homework-free evenings, barbecues, late nights and later mornings.  It’s a time when kids and adults alike are permitted a chance to slow down.

The break from homework, dance, school projects, the morning drop-off routine and the hamster wheel schedule we’re on during the school year is lovely.  I love our smoother mornings and not having to get anyone but myself out the door at an early hour.  The atmosphere around my kitchen island in the late afternoons and dinnertime is much less tense and stressful.  It’s fabulous.

Mid-way through the summer, however, I find the one thing I haven’t done is intentionally carved out quality time with my kids – just me and them.  We’ve fallen into a naturally relaxed routine in the evenings, which is great, but being home typically presents a lot of distractions – video games, tv, blogging – that can prevent the time from being meaningful.

So, in an effort to break up our somewhat complacent routine without upsetting the easy-breezy vibe of our summer nights, the kids and I took a simple picnic dinner of PB & J sandwiches to a local, small, inconspicuous little park I like for some quality time together.

It was amazing to see the affect this small alteration to our afternoon had on all of us.  I got the idea while driving home from work and we were out the door within 15 minutes of my getting home.  I didn’t let myself waste time putting a picturesque meal together or loading up the car with toys and playthings.  We played frisbee, ate, read, explored.  It was incredibly simple and just as easy to pull off.  We weren’t there more than 90 minutes and yet it was wonderfully refreshing to doff the usual do-nothing-at-home routine we’ve fallen into.

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With only a handful of weeks of summer vacation left, I hope to create more opportunities to enjoy moments like these.

1. Matching top and shorts by Sadie and Sage, purchased at one of my favorite L.A. boutiques, Soto Boutique. 2. Gladiator Sandals, similar to these, are from Stuart Weitzman.

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