Before I even begin, this isn’t aimed at making you feel bad because this is what you want to do, this is aimed at if you feel you SHOULD be making magical summer memories and would feel guilty because you don’t and reassuring you that that guilt and feeling of SHOULD be doing isn’t necessary.
I know from our Parent’s Coffee House Facebook group that there are lots of schools in the US that break up for summer in May – WOO hang on a minute isn’t it May at the moment – and others that break up in June – next month – we in the UK don’t break up in State Schools till the end of July. Already a lot of parents are stressing even here about summer – if they work what do they do with the children and if they don’t work then what do they do with the children and then there is the guilt what about if the kids are bored!
I sent out my weekly newsletter yesterday and in it talked about making magical summer memories and the pressure that we feel as parents to make it happen. I know many parents that are frantically pinning ideas, filling up weeks with this camp and that camp because they feel that is what they SHOULD be doing. Should be doing because it will create these magical summer memories that kids will cherish for the rest of their lives and to prevent those words “I’m bored” coming out because boredom is bad for kids – right?
WELL NO! – boredom is good it leads to creativity, imagination and helps kids to be independent. Yes, believe me, “I’m bored” are two words that I don’t like being whined especially when I may have just spent half an hour helping them fix some toy that had come apart or dug out exactly the right shade of paper for an important craft project. But, it really is good – what my kids really mean by “I’m bored” – is I want the TV on and if I say this enough times you will do it or occasionally I want to eat something so if I say I’m bored maybe you will translate that to I’m hungry and give me a snack even though lunch was only 20 minutes ago! I’ve learnt to offer a list of suggestions and then switch off, they eventually get bored of saying it and go and make their own fun somewhere else.
But, after going slightly off track there back to Magical Summer Memories and filling up summer days with activity after activity, camp after camp to make sure that those 3 months of the year or 6 weeks in the UK are full of what you should be making your kids do.
I want you to take a moment – think back to your summer memories and what you remember of them as a child. Mine, well things like eating breakfast in the garden, being in our PJ’s watching “Why don’t you” on TV till 11am, having hose fights with my brother, a bike ride in the village, skateboarding down the street with my dad and uncle to go to the park to enjoy the lighter evenings. A 2-week vacation where we spent together as a family doing what we enjoyed as a family together and sitting in the garden with my friends making rose perfume out of flowers. My only thing I wish I could have done was to experience a Summer Camp as a teen like I read about or saw in the movies but I was fine with camping with my friends and as we got older booking a trip to head to a theme park solo on a bus.
Not once in that time did my Mum have a schedule that said on Monday we will do a craft, Tuesday a recipe, Wednesday Learning activity etc… or sign us up for Dance Camp, Science Camp and more making sure that every moment was filled with something, in fact although we did do cooking sometimes and she did get out the craft supplies it was when we asked or it was because she fancied some treats at lunch time. When we were young she would take us to the local park or by bus into town to the swimming pool sometimes but not every day and it wasn’t something every day of the week.
My childhood memories of summer are lovely – I enjoyed summer holiday’s I looked forward to those 6 weeks off from about January time every year counting down the days till it would be summer so I would be free from school and could do what I wanted when I wanted, play as much as I wanted and YES watch TV till 11am in my PJ’s sometimes.
So if you are sitting there and saw this post thinking yeah some more ideas because I should be filling the kids days making magical summer memories for them then stop – sit down and take that moment I suggested above and write down what you remember from summer’s as a child, now think what you want your child’s memories of summer to be when they are older not what you feel you should be doing for whatever reason. This summer – we will be slowing down and enjoying it, I won’t be filling days with activities, we will do crafts when we want to cook, when we want to and for 6 weeks I will also be cutting back on Rainy Day Mum so that I make my own memories of my children’s summer’s as well.
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