On Spring Break, I Learned That My Kids Simply Needed a Break

Oh, Spring break. It’s for everyone, isn’t it? Kids and parents alike both need the relaxing, and sunshine if you’re lucky. Last year, my whole family flew to Florida and bummed the beach day after day. We dodged the snowy Michigan weather and let the sun warm our bodies—it thawed us out. My husband and I got to witness our children seeing the ocean for the first time. It was magic. So, when this spring break approached, I grew a little bitter. With my husband’s new job, he was allotted very little vacation time. We stayed in Michigan, but in reality, I daydreamed about a tropical spring break.

my kids needed a break

Sipping Coronas reclining in a folding chair on the beach.

Listening to children’s squeals splashing in the water.

Sun-kissed shoulders.

Strolling to the nearby ice cream shop.

Sundresses and flip-flops.

But our reality was to stay home in Michigan while the snow fell in April. I tried to be positive. I decided that I would take the kids to do a handful of activities in the area. My kindergartner likely had some energy to burn off, so keeping him inside sounded like torture. Yes, I made the decision that we would go to the nature center, an indoor playscape, the children’s museum, and maybe an adorable place for the kids to create art. I was prepared to give my kids a little fun on spring break—despite the persistent snow that kept falling. They didn’t need the sandy beach, I thought.

my kids needed a break

But when Monday came around, I noticed something quickly. My kids, my kindergartner especially, just needed to be left alone. He didn’t need any more stimulation. He didn’t need to learn anything new. He didn’t need to be whisked off to some cool place to run around. He didn’t need the beach. He didn’t need a “spring” break, he just needed a break.

So, that’s what I gave him—a break.

On most days, we lounged in our pajamas until after lunch. We didn’t brush our teeth until the afternoon. The kids crafted on their own. They played imaginary games, and somehow fought far less than they do when they’re in school. The stress that often gives our children, even kindergartners, gets to them. They get sick of sitting still, listening to adults, and overall, just trying to behave their best. And I learned that sometimes they just need to be left alone.

No, my kids won’t remember this spring break. No memories were made. I didn’t snap a bunch of pictures to look back on and think, “Hey, remember that spring break we didn’t do a thing?” But you know what? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that my kindergartner and his little sister were left alone and given the gift of free-play. They truly received a break—and honestly, so did Mom.

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