Monday, 27 June 2016

Bored Kids this Summer?

Happy Monday all!

Weekends seem to go by much too quickly, don't they? I know mine didn't last long enough.

With summer officially here, it is time to start planning vacations (or stay-cations) and enjoy all that summer has to offer. For some it means kids home from school being bored - not a term I was familiar with when I was growing up. Is it just me, or does it seem the more kids have to entertain them, the more they complain of being bored?

If you are a parent or guardian of school-age children this summer, why not encourage more outside time? I know the world has changed since I was a kid, but let them play in the dirt, stay out playing street hockey after dark and encourage them to explore their surroundings. Make summer fun for them, even if you aren't going anywhere on vacation.

Most communities have a Summer Reading Program at the library, so why not encourage your child to participate. They will be encouraged to read, be eligible for some neat prizes and make some neat crafts. The latter does vary from library to library, however.

If you are one of the parents who has to work all summer while your kids are out of school, enlist the help of family, friends or responsible childcare. Summer doesn't have to be boring. What about a treasure hunt? You set it up and have your child(ren) follow the map and collect the goodies. Encourage them to tell you all about their findings when you get home from work. It will help keep you in the loop of what they did, plus they will be excited to show you what they found. Chances are, they'll want to do it again.

For kids being raised on a farm, there is no shortage of things to do. My fondest memories are of summers on the farm. My sister and I used to take a blanket, juice, sandwiches and cookies and have a picnic in the shade of the haystack. Or we would walk through the tall grass and spread our blanket out. My dad used to scold us when he realized it, and I couldn't understand why. As I learned how to operate some farm equipment, I realized why flattened grass was something he didn't want. Sometimes nature did the flattening, and trying to cut hay that is lying flat on the ground is not an easy task.

Give your kids some responsibilities based on their age. Farm kids can take over feeding the outdoor pets and help with the livestock. Those who live in town can mow the grass, weed the garden or take the family dog for a daily walk. Let them help plan a weekend of camping or a visit to a museum. If they are part of the planning process they will be more interested in going, and it will help you take a step back and see the world through their eyes.

As adults we tend to forget what being a kid is all about. No matter how old you are, there is nothing wrong with doing something fun. Let your kids be kids, and let yourself act like one too. I miss my two being little, because we would go for walks, go to the lake for an afternoon, or go camping. We lived across the street from the school and spent hours at the playground. They had their Nintendo, but when summer came I would put it away and they were encouraged to go outside and play. There is nothing wrong with a child making mud pies. Water and soap does wonders to dirty hands, feet and faces. And if it gets on the floor, a mop will take care of that too.

On a final note, let your kids be kids. If they want to get dirty, let them. If they want to read a book in the treehouse, that's okay too. And for those who show some artistic ability, encourage it by buying sketchbooks and crayons for them. Young writers would be content with a pen and a notebook. Let them explore their world and who they are as a person. You may be surprised at what they come up with. And, when they return to school in the fall, they will have fond memories of a summer spent doing fun things, even if they didn't go anywhere on vacation.

What are your favourite summer memories as a child? Have you been able to recreate them with your own children (if you are a parent)?

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