Ever wish summer wasn’t such a big stressor? That you, as a parent, didn’t have to worry about creating a summer schedule or organizing activities for your older kids?
You roamed free every summer. You woke up when you wanted to. Maybe you swam for a summer swim team. Then, you watched a little TV and read book after book. Babysitters Club, R.L. Stine – you finished full series.
Your parents didn’t seem stressed about entertaining you every minute of every day. We knew how to entertain ourselves.
Why don’t our kids know how to do that?
One reason: They don’t know how.
Most likely, after being scheduled from wake up to bedtime every single day of the school year, they have no idea what free time even means.
They don’t know how to structure it.
They don’t know what to do.
And they believe that being bored is your fault and not theirs.
We live in a tricky age. But this summer, your kids are making their own plans. Here’s how they’ll be entertaining themselves starting right now.
#1 No summer schedule needed, do this instead
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Your older kids need to be bored. There’s no way around it.
According to Dr. Daniel Siegel, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., authors of The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity and Resilience in Your Child, when kids are allowed to grapple with the discomfort of being bored, they strengthen the problem solving and logical portion of their brains.
This is essential to becoming emotionally stable adults.
The problem arises when our kids have zero practice in this. Zip. Zero. Nada.
We need to let them be bored. Only in boredom do they find exactly what they want to do to take away that discomfort and then they’ll take action to pursue it.
#2 Older kids must have a…
Once kids get tired of being bored, they find something to do. But, we don’t want that activity to be watching YouTube Kids all day. That’s why it’s best to encourage them to find something they love.
They need a goal.
In the summer after fifth grade, I joined a Parks & Rec swim team. I spent around 2-3 hours at the pool every morning and then my dad picked me back up.
After this, I went home and had a completely unstructured day. My dad, a computer science teacher, spent most of the day on the computer and I was left to do whatever I wanted.
My friend Alexandra and I – also on the swim team – found a way to fill the time.
We started a swim team newspaper. After a quick lesson on Pagemaker from my father- a throwback to the 90’s – we published a newsletter weekly. Our paper had jokes, the meet schedule, and other swimming news.
If I say so myself, it was a hit. Looking back, that paper was my first experience in blogging. We filled our week with writing, editing, taking pictures and perfecting our layout.
That summer was a blast.
The next summer, we hit a snag when we decided to make fun of a boy on our team in print. The newspaper stopped and I learned a very important lesson in slander.
Still the best summer ever.
Your kid needs a goal. Something they work at on their own and pursue.
#3 For never-ending summer activities, this is essential
After the newspaper folded, Alex and I needed something else to do. We desperately wanted to volunteer but found not too many places accepted 11-year-olds. And it’s not like we didn’t try.
We opened up the phone book – again a throwback to the 90’s – and called theatre companies, the humane society, radio stations – everyone asking if they take “youth” volunteers.
I always laugh at our word choice, but we didn’t feel honest calling ourselves teens since we were only 12.
No one took us. Why? Because that summer, we relied on someone other than ourselves to make our goal happen.
We needed a better plan. I wish someone would have taught me how to plan your goals? I simply thought, “here’s a goal. Now, why isn’t it happening?”
Kids not productive? Nonsense.
They need to be shown the way. But how?
I’m going to teach your kids everything I wish I knew at that age. From creating a goal entirely within their power to accomplish, planning to make it happen and even how to positively negotiate with you when they need help.
Not So Bummer Summer is a video e-course for your kids.
Imagine your child spending the summer creating a recipe book of slime recipes, baking cupcakes for their own baking business or starting a greeting card line. Whatever their passion, Not-So-Bummer Summer will help them name it and then create a plan to make it happen.
The key to entertaining kids this summer is to allow boredom to happen, have them choose a goal and then teach them how to develop a plan to make it a reality.