If you're a return visitor to my blog, you will know that today's post is a little bit different than what I normally do, which is papercrafts, cards etc. However, you'll notice that the tag line of my blog says "Creations and reflections of a stay at home mom" I've dedcided to start dedicating one post a week to the "Reflections" part and spending a little time talking about parenting, family and kid stuff.
Don't be fooled, however, the grass isn't necessarily greener on the tween and adolescent side either,
which is where I currently am. As a mom of an 11, (soon to be) 13 and (soon to be) 17 year old, summer vacation gets a little more tricky. The 17 year old doesn't really count though because 1) she can drive and entertain herself and 2) as an upcoming senior she is busy with SAT, ACT and other academic preps this summer. My two boys though? They are a different story. Like any boys their age they are slaves to the video games: computer, Xbox, Wii etc; and part of me sees the value in that--my oldest boy has developed an interesting in teaching himself coding and really learning things about computer programming etc-- and part of me knows I've created a couple of lazy monsters! But, I ask myself, what do I want them to do? When I tell them to get off the video games, what exactly is it that I want them to do instead? I mean, it is is summer vacation, right?! They've worked hard and done well, so why not just let them have a break? And I'm here to tell you there are not a lot of "Pinterest inspired" activities for this age group that don't require a trip to the hardware store, a set of complicated instructions and a huge back yard to accomplish!
I could just turn a blind eye and pretend I'm not keeping up with how long they've been on the games; but I know that in July I'll regret that, so I don't. Instead, I sit down at the beginning of the summer and come up with a weekly schedule. As they've gotten older, the schedule has changed a bit. Now, I give them a little more opportunity to be self disciplined and accountable. For example, they are required to read 5 days for 20 minutes. There are 7 days in the week...they can choose any 5 they want. I'm also a summer workbook mom. I've been buying the "Summer Bridge Activities" books since they were in kindergarten. Now, I will be the first to admit that we don't EVER complete the whole book...but we do pretty well for the first month or so of vacation. Sometimes our summer learning schedule is affected by whether we are moving in the summer since we are a military family. I'm a strong believer that learning never stops and keeping the ol' brain gears oiled a little throughout summer helps children start the school year with success and gives them the confidence they need to continue succeeding through the school year.
As for technology, that is the only area I maintain complete control of. We have two days a week when technology is not allowed; and on those days I do try to find other things for them to do to occupy their time. I have been scouring ideas and Pinterest lately and have pinned a few ideas. Make sure to follow me on Pinterest and check my board "kids and kid stuff" for all those ideas. Seriously thinking about making that gaint Jenga game!
So, I'm curious how do you handle summer vacation? Are you a no work and all play mom, an all work and no play mom or like me and a little bit of both?
Do you have fun ideas to share for ways to keep 11 and 13 year olds engaged and entertained? I would love to hear them! Leave me a comment and let me know!
I'm sharing this post with a couple of linky parties today:
1. Totally Terrific Tuesday:
2. Inspire Me Monday:
3. Turn it up Tuesday
4. Motivational Monday