Are “the lazy days of summer” becoming extinct?
What happened to a summer spent relaxing? Floating in a pool, laying on a hammock, spinning on a tire swing, catching fireflies? How about spending the day reading a great book or building sand castles?
Why do those types of summer days seem to be a thing of the past?
It’s because life is GO GO GO nowadays. Kids’ lives are over-scheduled all year. So parents are pressured to fill their kids’ summers with activities too.
Camp fairs take place in MARCH in my town. Yes, March! It’s when all the local camps exhibit their unique summer programs and try to convince parents to sign the kiddos up for camp. Everything from baseball camp to tennis camp, soccer camp, art camp, cooking camp, golf camp, horseback riding camp… the list goes on and on.
But my question is, who decided that parents should entertain their kids? Shouldn’t kids learn to entertain themselves? And why can’t we (parents and kids) spend the summer relaxing, like the good ol days?
WHO IS TO BLAME?
I blame the over-scheduling craze. I also blame electronic devices for lazy summers going out of style.
I’ll explain why.
As a parent, how many times a day do you hear, “This is BORING”, “I am SO bored”, or “I have nothing to do”?
An easy response for parents? Electronic devices. Nowadays when kids are looking for something to do, they are oh so happy to turn to their IPads, video games, computers or TV’s.
We all know how well electronics keep kids entertained. And for how long. For hours and hours if you let them.
However, from the moment your baby is born, parents are told to limit screen time and set rules on electronics. Turn off that TV. Stop playing those video games. Send the kids outside to get fresh air.
So most parents try to do the right thing and limit screen time. But then they feel the need to fill up the kids’ free time with activities, trips, camps, excursions.
Other parents stick with the electronics to keep their kids busy.
So whether it’s activities or electronics, both are taking away from the good old-fashioned summer activity of kids just “playing”. Digging in the dirt. Swinging on a tire swing. Playing make-believe games. Using their imagination. Just being kids.
THE GREAT NEWS:
We can bring back the lazy days of summer.
First, turn off the devices. Yes, all of them.
Second, stop the over-scheduling. Just say no.
Then if your kids say they are bored, how about they can choose to do some good old-fashioned chores? Like dusting? Or vacuuming? Or helping with laundry?
(Side note: I am an advocate of kids having regular chores to do… so these would be extra ones).
I am sure they will suddenly decide they aren’t bored anymore! (Or maybe if they choose to do extra chores, they will be so tired from helping out around the house, they will then be thrilled to simply swing on a hammock. That would be a win-win!)
So my advice is if your kids say they are bored, then let them choose how to change that… extra chores, or just play like a kid?
I guarantee the lazy days of summer will come screaming back into popularity.
Because I know I would choose to play outside in the sunshine, over chores… EVERY . SINGLE . TIME!