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Perspectives

Gear Up (or Down!) for Your Ideal Summer

it’s been a year like any other – so take some time to take it easy

Summer is a great time for strolling with a friend like this Eau Claire toddler did last year on a downtown Eau Claire trail.
Summer is a great time for strolling with a friend, like this toddler did last year on a downtown Eau Claire trail.

In a normal year, this would be the issue of Chippewa Valley Family where we would look forward to the school bell ringing for the last time (for a few months at least). The parents and grandparents among us would be busy anticipating extra time with the kids – time for ambitious vacations or backyard adventures, time to dig in the sandbox or play on the sandlot, time to make new friends and to form indelible memories.

We’d also be worrying about how to keep the kiddos busy during the long, lazy summer days away from the familiar school routines. What, we would wonder, can we do with all that time?

But now, as the school year fades, vaccination rates rise, accustomed activities reemerge, and life inches toward something resembling normalcy, the prospect of summer itself is renewed for families.

Of course, the school year that will conclude a few weeks after this issue hits the stands has been unlike any in memory (except, perhaps, for the COVID-interrupted one that preceded it). Amid the patchwork of pandemic restrictions, many kids alternated between learning at home and in the classroom (masked and distanced from peers, of course). Others spent the school year as entirely virtual students, connected to classmates mostly by iPad or laptop. With many activities curtailed, the surplus of unstructured time usually reserved for summer bled into the school year – a school year that became unusually stressful for parents working from home, managing virtual learners, and dealing with all the other stressors of the pandemic.

But now, as the school year fades, vaccination rates rise, accustomed activities reemerge, and life inches toward something resembling normalcy, the prospect of summer itself is renewed for families. As the temperature rises, so does our optimism about the opportunities ahead of us.

Unlike our collective experience in 2020, this summer there are camps to be attended, summer school classes to be taken, sports to be played, and trips to be planned. The doors to in-person and virtual classrooms will fly open and the students will spill out into the sunshine. Students and parents alike will be free from the pressures of an unusual academic year and will be able to pack the longer hours of sunshine with as many activities as they want – or to ditch their routines and take naps in the hammock.

However you plan on spending the summer, we hope it offers a welcome respite from a year-plus of pandemic living. You and the kids should take it easy – you deserve it!