Our kids used to have it all. A mom who was a teacher meant that summers were all about the kids. My oldest remembers spending every day at the pool; hiking, camping, and all day adventures. Well, now this momma and poppa team have to work in the summer. Sure we work for ourselves, but there is still work to be done and not everyday can be spent poolside. You know what, it's good for them. They are part of a family and everyone in our family has jobs, pursues passions, and supports one another (in theory, right?).
I have come to terms with the notion that it is not my job to entertain my kids 24 hours/day. Even if I think its really fun to hang with them all day. We have a home and a shop where the kids are free to play and when ignored just the right amount, they find ways to play and create without the parental song and dance. My new mantra, "your boredom is not my responsibility."
We've been talking a lot with our camp staff about creating experiences that have just the right about of support, structure, and adult intervention. This takes knowing your kids, trusting that they are capable of just a little more than your first instinct. The best experiences for kids are those that feel like they are co-constructed. Adults, your job is safety, supplies, and environment. This does not require hours of pinning amazing summer activities to orchestrate. All that is required is that you give your kids access to their toys, art supplies, and an environment to play. The kids bring the action and imagination. For instance, my kids were wandering around the house yesterday with a bored look. I asked some simple questions that helped guide their thinking towards an activity:
- Outside or inside?
- Game or toys?
- Individual or group?
Sometimes kids just need a hand in pairing down the endless choices they have in their play. Boredom is often just the inability to make a decision and stick with it. They chose outside, the bin of guys, and to play together. For the next two hours, they created an entire world of adventure guys in the front yard. Boredom thwarted, for now.
How are you empowering your kids to create their own summer fun?
If all else fails, send them to us. We're building and playing all summer long. Starting next month, we'll have open Tinker Time 3:30-6pm M-F. There are also a few camps with availability.