There is SO much to do this summer, am I right? Festivals and fireworks and parades and performances, crafternoons and picnics and pool days and OMG I thought summer was supposed to be relaxing?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I mean, I have built a stay at home mom business literally based on telling people about local stuff to do with their kids. I get it. Kids wanna do stuff. But you know what else you can do this summer? Nothing. That’s right. You can do NOTHING. And the thing is? Some days you should do just that.
With five children, I often get stuck in the Cruise Director position on an overly perky caffeinated loop: “Let’s go to the pool/park/library/farm/sprinkler park/WHATEVER” just so we can get out of the house and have some activity. I have been known to chastise children that are “just sitting around”. It’s possible I have thrown open curtains and gestured wildly at the sky proclaiming how glorious the day is and how much diem we should carpe.
Lately though, I have also started embracing the long hours and open time that makes up summer days. When children approach me to say they are bored, I simply tilt my head in the direction of the backyard, occasionally calling them in for ice pops and iced tea. The older kids can take off for hours with their friends on their bikes. The younger kids can dig holes in the backyard and play in the sprinkler. And I can do whatever I want (sort of, I mean, there is some parenting involved). These days have few rules: I will only allow one outfit per day (otherwise there are multiple changes because of wet/dirty clothes) and one swimsuit per day (same); the older children must make their own lunches and the screen time is limited. If you are filthy when you try to come in, you must leave your clothes on the deck and enter the house nude. Otherwise, do your thang.
These days don’t always go smoothly, of course. Usually there is a one to two hour period where they sometimes noisily come to terms with “nothing to do” and either give up and read a book on a blanket outside or find a neighborhood friend. There is complaining, but you know what? There is plenty of complaining when we have an “activity” sometimes too. Complaining kinda goes with the whole “having kids” thing.
So this summer, don’t worry if the kids have nothing to do. It’s good for them. It’s called childhood. Sit back and read your book and rest assured you are teaching them self reliance and giving their imaginations room to grow. They’ll be bored, and they’ll be totally fine.