School is almost over and families everywhere are planning for summer. The last thing you want is to have kids hanging around playing video games. We no longer live in an age where one can say, “Be back before dark”. Where are the days when summer meant lazing around the pool with friends! The good news is that caregivers everywhere can add event coordinator to their resume. I was amazed to find out what that involved.
I’ve done some research on the web and I’m exhausted looking at what parents do nowadays to keep their children entertained. Making daily plans, setting summer goals, finding daycare, camps, daily journals, playdates, outings, daily, and weekly activities just to name a few. Alone they don’t seem daunting but none of the websites I found had just one of them…they had all of them. Think about how much these costs. It’s unreasonable in this economy. Many families can’t keep up. Let’s not forget about families where both parents work. How do they find the time? Keeping up with the Joneses is no longer about a white picket fence…
I decided to brainstorm and come up with some ideas of my own.
- Mom clubs Plan with other moms to trade-off. Your kids will be out of the house a day or two a week depending on how you structure your club.
- Hire a babysitter Someone who will be your helper. You can train and learn how to work together the best. You probably won’t be paying them as but as they learn and progress you can pay them more. Perhaps you will feel more comfortable letting your kids have more freedom around the neighborhood or on adventures, your choice. In the meantime, you are helping another kiddo get some valuable skills.
- Have a structured behavior chart Explain to your kiddos what you want them to do and reward them when they accomplish it. (www.ourbreakthroughs.com)
- Phone Numbers Put up a list of friend’s phone numbers next to the family telephone so that they can call friends during the summer to stay in touch.
- Reading Club Start a reading club where kids can meet and talk about the latest books. This would be particularly helpful for the working parent that needs to have their groups held later in the day to stay involved.
I am overwhelmed with the expectations that are put on parents these days. I think when you take one or two of the examples above like playdates and daily journals and put them together for a day that is more than enough.
For the parents that have older kids I would issue a word of caution. Allow your child to be in charge of their own social calendar. Learning how to find friends is an important skill. Finding playdates for your child ends. If they aren’t asking to make phone calls or have people over it may be a sign for problems that you will want to address.
Kids do not have to be occupied every second of the day. If they are having a slow day they still should keep the electronic devices turned off, slow it down and read a book. I’m now sure if our children know how to manage boredom. They are constantly entertained by cellphones and video games. This need for constant stimulation can be damaging, but that is another blog!
Contact me on my website at www.ourbreakthroughs.com. I would love to hear your comments. Share your ideas. If there is something that you would like to write about then let me know. We can discuss your audience!