Summer is tooooooo long!

August 24, 2007 at 3:21 am Leave a comment

School started yesterday.  Hallelujah!  I was so ready!  I was standing at the bus stop this morning when one of the dads said, “I just needed 2 more weeks of summer!”  I shot him a horrified look and said, “are you serious??”  He was.  So, what in the world is wrong with me?  I was done with summer by August 1st.  Enough.  I had done the day camp, the overnight family camp, the family vacation, the swim lessons, the pool days, the playdates, and the “dog days”.  I was done.   And you know what?–My kids were done.  They were ready for school, too!

Why is summer 3 months long?  I mean, I think I speak for most parents when I say that we’re all ready for a break when June arrives.  We need to not get up and get going in the morning.  We need to not have homework, school projects, and school events.  We’re exhausted from going, going, going.  We need a break.  We’re tired.

So, summer settles in.  We do camps, swim lessons, vacations, . . . . and a whole lot of hanging out.  Well, we did all of it this summer.  We had theater camp, sports camp, ranger camp, Vacation Bible School, family camp, and family vacation– a driving tour of the midwest – we drove through 10 states in all, including Mt. Rushmore, in South Dakota!  We also did the swim lessons, diving lessons, and general pool days;  fireworks, family visitors, friends visiting from out of town, lots–no, tons, of BBQs, happy hours, and just hanging out.  So, by the end of July, it felt like we had done it all.  I was actually looking forward to 2 and a half weeks in August with absolutely nothing to do.  Well, I was a fool!

Having 4 kids, means, by definition, that there is always something to do.  There is always an activity, a fight, a “time-out” to give, a chore to do, a task to ask for, a playdate, or lack-thereof, an errand, a nap, a feeding, a “you-fill-in-the-blank”  . . . so, basically, when you have 4 kids under the age of 8, there is no such thing as “nothing to do”.  There is also no such thing as “sleeping in” or “hanging out all day” or “dog days of summer”.  (What does that mean, anyway?????)

We’ve been doing “nothing” all of August.  I truly thought my family could use some “down” time.  Hah!  The joke is on me, yet again.  The truth is, kids do need “down time” . . . but only in half hour increments — not in days or weeks.  They prefer the “go, go, go” schedule.  Unfortunately, this is probably due, in part, because we, as parents, instill this in them during the school year.  They go to school all day ~ come home ~ have a snack and rush off to some activity ~ then they come home and do homework and have dinner and go to bed.  How boring!  When do they just play??

I often think of my friends who are from huge families (like 8-13 kids…)  how did they do it?  Well, they really didn’t “do” a whole lot until high school.  They didn’t have an activity every season during the school year.  Sports were mostly saved for summers and/or high school age.  They played.  So, why don’t we? Why don’t our kids just play every day? Why do we feel the need to keep our kids “productively active” on a daily basis?

Well, I simply can’t.  I let my kids pick one activity per season.  That’s about all I can handle when it comes to shuffling schedules.  But, I remember as a kid watching “The Little Rascals”, or just recently watching, “The Sandlot” or something like that — I can’t remember the title.  I do remember, however, that it’s about a bunch of neighborhood kids, all different ages, hanging out all summer together, and having a bunch of adventures.  It just seems like our kids are too scheduled and require too much supervision these days for them to just hang out like kids used to do.  What do you think?

What do your kids do all summer?  After school every day? Leave a comment and let us know . . .

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