Oh, how I remember the days of my youth! Hop on my bike five minutes after breakfast with a buck and a smile and not come back until dark with scrapes on my knees and dirts under my fingers. I loved it! All the kids did this in my neighborhood. So many people now argue that it was 'safer then' - but I disagree. The media just didn't cover things like they do now...we weren't as scared. I digress...
When we moved to the farm, there weren't kids close by to ride around all day...but I still found things to do. I could run in the fields for hours...even sit on the porch with a book. My swingset was my favorite spot and I created a whole world of friends and an exciting 'big city' life while daydreaming out there. I don't remember ever saying "I'm bored" or asking to watch TV during the day. Boy, have times changed!
I want so badly to run a loose ship this summer...but I find that kids can't handle it. If I don't have an activity set up or a plan in place, they simply wander around the house looking lost or run off to plug into something! I'm still standing my ground and refuse to be the party planner all summer...GO FIND SOMETHING TO DO...seems to be my battle cry. They are finding that the bored routine is not getting positive stuff...instead we have breakfast, homework (yes, I'm THAT mean) and chores first thing in the morning. If that is too hard for you...I can find 'easier' chores! The homework is one thing per day - but my children can find a way to drag it out into an hour! As I explain that it's as quick or slow as they want to be...well, it falls on deaf ears!
Then, the mommy guilt comes in. Should I be planning things for them to do everyday? Is it simply the world we live in now? I must say that my neighborhood has a ton of kids and NONE of them are outside - EVER! Well...except mine and our good friends two houses up. Does that mean those 'good' moms are sitting inside playing board games all day and feeding the minds of their children? Are they taking day trips each day to show the world to these sweet young things? I worry about that and then I realize that the truth is probably closer to this: I'm doing it pretty dog-gone right. My kids should be able to find something to do...they have a million toys, a yard and park, bikes, blades, kites, dogs and EACH OTHER! I find time each day to spend with them - playing board games, shooting hoops and yes - taking day trips! But, at their ages, it is time to learn some level of autonomy. Really...it will pay off some day.