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How to make summer goals work with one child

by Shawni

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while is well aware that we are big fans of summer goals around here (lots of links to other posts about that at the end of this one).

We are specifically in to summer goals that have a plan of action.

For what seems like years and years we have sat down with our kids at the beginning of the summer and helped them churn out some dreams for the summer:

Things they wanted to use their time for to beef up their EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL, PHYSICAL, MENTAL and SPIRITUAL abilities.

(We call those the “five-facets” around here, as adopted by my parents…who did the same thing with us at the beginning of every summer growing up.)

Then they would get busy doing their “stuff.”

There was always an award for goals achieved.

Sometimes money, sometimes time (late-nights, dates with parents…back when that worked!, etc.), sometimes something they really wanted (clothes, toys, etc.)

We have done everything from having the kids write those goals on big posters in the kitchen to hanging them on the door of their bedrooms so they won’t miss them:

After a few years of doing this, we realized we needed more than just the goals.

These kids needed a PLAN to get those goals done.

So we added in a “check-list” so they could see their progress each summer week:

(These pictures are killing me, just in case you’re wondering. How in Heaven’s name has all this faded away into the memory banks, gathering dust?? Oh man I had a love/hate-but-mostly-love relationship with these days of monotony and pushing and prodding to keep kids going. And I wish I could go back and give each of those kids a huge hug and tell them how much these goals have helped them through the years! I adore summer goals and I think it’s safe to say they did too.)

One more picture because REALLY….

Those kids worked together.

They were motivated by each other’s check lists.

We had time set aside each day where it was just part of the day to get those suckers done.

One year they even worked together to earn an X-Box for all their hard summer work.

It wasn’t a perfect plan, of course. Some summers went better than others.

But those kids worked and were productive before they set out to roam the neighborhood.

And I loved it.

So what changes as kids dwindle and head off into the big wide world?

First of all the parents get more lax, am I right?

And second of all, they don’t have each other to stay motivated.

Thank Heavens our last little goal-girl left at home happens to be this one who is motivated by a schedule like nobody’s business:

She has been since she was young.

(She would color those little circles in each day with a dry-erase marker and was our best at this task.)

And even though this summer seems to have been a jumble in many ways with so many comings and goings of big kids (life gets so much more complicated with big kids!), Lucy has stuck to at least certain parts of the goals she set up in the beginning of the summer.

As I mentioned back HERE, it’s been down to “The Three Musketeers” for a lot of the summer:

And we have tried to use some of our time (aside from card games) to work together on summer goals.

Lucy had a recurring subject to most of her goals this summer:

BECOME INDEPENDENT.

Oh how she wants that, and what a great time to be able to work on all kinds of skills that will help her on that journey.

And all those five-facets sure work pretty beautifully into creating independence.

We’ve had some pretty good heart-to-hearts about all the things we can work on together to get her ready to head out into the big wide world on her own some day. She’s working toward being ready to join a “teen to work” camp for blind kids next summer.

One of the biggest goals we’ve been able to work on together in conjunction with being independent is learning to cook some of her favorite meals.

This girl loves to work in the kitchen.

And there’s not much I love more than cooking with my kids. I will say cooking with Lucy is a little bit different than cooking with other kids though. We are working hard on learning some tactics to measure things without spilling all the ingredients, how to feel the knobs of the stove to understand how large the flame is, how to open cans or cartons, (small motor skills are really tricky for Lu), knowing when things are boiling…I realize how much I take what I can see for granted.

But this girl is determined. And that’s a pretty beautiful thing.

How to cook with a visual impairment

She made us our favorite Nichol’s Vodka Sauce twice:

This recipe is no cakewalk…it involves baking the flavors so they can seep into each other, transferring the marinated flavors all together in the blender, squishing whole canned tomatoes that have a tendency to splat all over creation, etc.

But she did it. (And even made a fruit salad to accompany it, woohoo!). I have to say, I think her batches were better than I have ever made it.

She also made us her very favorite “Honey Lime Enchiladas.”

I realized how difficult it must be to see how “done” tortillas are when you can’t see very well (she watched really close for bubbles), and took it all in stride:

We gobbled that right up, it was so good (the gathering ready for the 4th of July):

Lucy also took a flight all by herself in her quest for independence:

(Heading to “Grammie Camp”…and that girl did it without a hitch and had the BEST time.)

We have a lot more work to do: braiding, reading (she is so good at this just naturally), new piano songs, more “friends” in the scriptures, etc.

But thankfully we have a whole two more weeks of summer to tackle these things. (Yes, you got that right, we start school again on the 26th, BOO!)

Hope everyone is having a great summer out there, and hope these goal ideas will help you and yours!

xoxo

How to set summer goals with kids

Summer goals with a plan

Summer goal failures 😉 and more MOM FAILS (gotta keep this real, right?!)

Parental five-facet reviews

Some Favorite Recipes

Nichol’s Vodka Pasta Sauce

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Favorite Chocolate Chip Bundt Birthday Cake

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16 comments

Marie July 12, 2022 - 5:47 am

Hi, Shawni! I have come to love your family from afar and have appreciated your blog posts over the past few years. I admire your positivity and thank you for all the fun ideas and encouragement!

My oldest child is 16 and the one question I’ve asked many of my friends with kids older than mine is: “What regrets do you have with your child/family?”

Several of my friends had kids graduate this year and I wanted to learn from them so I can maximize these final years before my kids begin to leave the nest.

One friend simply said her regret was, “the phone.” Another said she regretted letting sports rule their lives so much and that as parents we need to maintain control and not let coaches and programs dictate our kids’ lives so much.

One thing my husband and I regret is letting our 16-year-old use social media this past school year (Snapchat and Instagram). But thankfully, we had this regret with time to make some changes and so we are backtracking and eliminating these apps (which is a very hard thing to do, but that’s okay). We feel it’s absolutely worth the struggle.

Are there any regrets you’d be willing to share with us? I find this question so impactful and helpful in so many ways as I raise my own 5 children. I love to learn from the moms ahead of me.

I can’t believe you’ll be back in school in 2 weeks. That’s actually terrible! 🤪😂 You should be at Bear Lake and enjoying the beautiful summer for much longer!!!!! No doubt you’ll maximize your time you have left, though.

Congratulations to Lucy, and to you also, for helping her become independent. No doubt it takes thoughtful and intentional time and thought to navigate this. All the best to you! ❤️

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Shawni July 12, 2022 - 7:41 pm

That is a great question Marie! I love the thoughts you shared. I will be thinking about it for a while, but some thoughts for now: one regret is that I had this desire for my kids to do the same things I did growing up. They worked so well for me and I just *knew* the same things would work for my kids. Ha! But I really can’t say that is a “regret” because we have all learned so much from the process. We are here to guide our kids, that’s what parenthood is, and all we have to base it on is our own experiences. If I had a horrible childhood I would be working diligently to do it all differently. But I’ve loved watching my kids take their own paths and figure out things on their own, some the same as how I pictured, and others different, and it’s so cool as a parent to be able to watch this.

But the biggest real regret would be social media. Hands down. It’s a tricky one because Dave and I have tried to find the balance between understanding that an entire social life is based upon social media for this generation. I’m so glad we stuck it out and made Claire wait until her senior year for snapchat, but now I wish I could take it away (well, not now that she’s in college, but I sure hope she can find that balance!). There are all kinds of studies that show how teenager self esteem plummeted when social media was introduced. I applaud you for being willing to take on the struggle of backtracking and finding the right balance for your 16-year-old in your family. Everyone will find a different balance, but I think we need to think long and hard about social media!

Dave and I just listened to such a great segment about the effects of social media. I’ll have to find it and share it soon.

Thank you for the question!

It IS actually terrible that we’re starting school so soon! We are all dreading it!

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Jenny also July 13, 2022 - 11:57 am

Thanks Shabbat, for sharing such a valuable “not really a regret” regret! There are many paths to happiness and success. And happiness and success can look very different for different people. Hard to remember that sometimes when the “different people” are our own kids!

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Aly July 12, 2022 - 8:20 am

This post is so helpful!! Thank you. Also love Marie’s helpful info and question above. Thanks!

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Jamie July 12, 2022 - 11:45 am

I can’t imagine being in school on July 26!! I love the idea of year round school and more breaks during the year but when you mention school starting at the end of July it just makes me sad. Its summer! But I know where you live its summer almost year round. In Idaho we are just now getting hot weather.
Love watching Lucy cooking. With her tenacity she will achieve independence. She will go far!

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Shawni July 12, 2022 - 7:42 pm

She sure is trying! We sure have our rollercoaster moments but we’re all learning along the way!

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Jennifer Brooks July 12, 2022 - 3:04 pm

I think it’s wild your school starts back on 26th July. We live in England and ours don’t break up until 22nd July!

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Shawni July 12, 2022 - 7:42 pm

Yes, that’s the way to do it! England has it right! Enjoy your summer!
xoxo

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Julie July 12, 2022 - 11:21 pm

I love all the goals that Lucy has set for herself, especially the cooking one. It must be so hard to cook things when you can’t see properly.

Just curious, is Lucy able to walk to your local supermarket & also get a bus to places?

It’s sounds crazy to thik that a lot of schools go back on July 26th. Here in the UK most schools don’t break up until next week. They then go back in September.

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Julie July 12, 2022 - 11:24 pm

Forgot to ask, with going back in July are the younger children at school allowed to play in the playground at break time or is it too hot for them?

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Shawni July 14, 2022 - 11:11 pm

Lucy is still working on bus skills (except for the school bus which she rides home). She has walked to the local supermarket with friends a couple times and we sometimes ride the tandem there. So hoping she can continue to learn these types of skills.

They do cancel recess on days with extreme heat hazard. It gets so hot!

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Julie+Tann July 15, 2022 - 12:58 am

Thank you for answering my questions. I really appreciate this.

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Ciara July 13, 2022 - 6:08 am

Oh, I love this post! I recently went back to one of your early “summer goals” posts for inspiration. These are now a part of our family culture. I started reading your blog roughly around the time of the pictures shared above and it is just WILD how the time flies! I know a lot of pictures on older posts don’t display because of the older formatting, so it was cute to see these throwbacks!

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Shawni July 14, 2022 - 11:08 pm

I’m so glad you have found some ideas to incorporate and we (my brother Josh and I…well, let’s be honest, mostly Josh) are working on those older picture formatting. Hoping we can fix it up! Yes time flies!!
xoxo

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Courtney C. July 19, 2022 - 12:21 pm

I’ve been following your blog for a L O N G time. Not sure exactly when I started, but Lucy was little, maybe 2 years old? She’s a year older than my oldest daughter and I have always loved following her journey. She is rocking those goals! Awesome job Lucy!

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Shawni July 29, 2022 - 3:52 pm

Thank you Courtney!
xoxo

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