• laura

School's out for Summer!

Updated: Oct 2, 2018

No more lunches to make (that no one eats), no more homework to check, no more endless forms to complete! But now what? I am just as happy as the kids that school is out for summer - but at the same time, I do have some reservations about how the two months will play out.

For those of you who will be home with your kids, you are undoubtedly wondering "how will I ever keep the kids entertained?" And yet, is that really our job as parents?

Do you remember the days when you used to tell your parents, "I'm bored!" The answer was always, "Well, I'll give you something to do..." We always knew that meant a chore and we very quickly figured out something for ourselves.

There is no question that our children are growing up in a very different world than the one we knew. In this world of instant gratification through digital media, it is possible for our children to get what they want, when they want it and as result they are more dependent than ever on immediate attention and constant entertainment.

It can feel as if everything in their little lives is so instantaneous that they haven't had to exercise the skills of patience and self-directed play.

Consider their world:

  • Television watching no longer involves sitting through commercials or waiting a week for the next episode. Even saying "fast forward" will make you obsolete - "it is called 'Skip Ad' mom!" You don't even wait for the fast forward function anymore - just skip it! Don't like what you are watching? No problem, there are endless episodes at your finger tips. There is no such thing anymore as "there is nothing on T.V."

  • Want to hear your favourite song? "Hey Google...." is always close by. No sitting patiently in your room to hit the record and play button (at the same time!) during the 'Top 6 at 6' to get the elusive copy of your favourite song (without some annoying DJ talking over the start or end of the song!)

  • Love gaming? Click on an app, throw on your headset and instantaneously you are connected with friends (or strangers) and playing online. Sure, we played endless hours of video games when we were kids too but if playing against the computer wasn't cutting it, you had to pick up the phone (usually in the kitchen), politely ask to speak with your friend and make a plan to get together. Or, if your mom was smart, she would send you down the street to their house, knock on the door where you had to interact with their parents and then sit side by side with your friend to play together.

In my house, I struggle at times with my kids' expectations to be constantly entertained and that I will always come to their rescue from the awful BOREDOM! The constant chorus of “mom, mom…MOM!!” can only be satisfied by appeasing their need for attention and gratification.

Without requiring our kids to 'work for' their entertainment (even getting up off a couch) and in the process, eliminating wait time to gratification, we are contributing to kids with instant expectations - IF we continue to let it happen. Our job as parents is not to constantly entertain our kids but rather to help them build the skills to be able to manage boredom and learn to appreciate the benefits of self-directed play and independence.

Last summer, my biggest concern as summer hit was how I would manage my kids' strong pull to the online world where they would stay all day, if allowed. Thanks to Google, I found a checklist which I used to ensure they 'took care of' their basic human needs (such as dressing, eating and brushing teeth). They then had to complete activities (such as read, make something, play outside, etc.) before they were allowed to play on devices. It worked well for a large part of the summer but I couldn't help but feel at times they were just going through the motions and I was often called upon to facilitate the real world activities.

This summer, I have a mission. My goal is to help my kids develop patience and figure out how to self-direct their play.

Rather than the focus being solely on delaying screen time, I can't help feeling that being at their beck and call is actually hurting them - if they "need" me and it is not an emergency, I will give them more opportunities learn to wait and figure things out themselves.

As a tool, I will be using the Kidictive Summer Time Fun Check List that they will use to work on self-directed play while at the same time earning their screen time (delaying gratification) by PLAYING, CREATING, IMAGINING, DISCOVERING, and CONNECTING in the real world. Here's hoping that they will get so lost in self-directed summer time real world fun that it will be me that will have to call out to find them!

I look forward this summer to working on giving my kids the gifts of developing patience and all the great things that come out of self-directed play and good old "being bored". Laura Here at Kidictive, we are excited to share our own version of the Summer Time Fun Check List for you to use in your own home with your kids this summer! And, you can check out our Parent Resources on Kidictive.com and join our Parent Advisory Group for more fun stuff. We hope this will help bring the gifts of patience and self-directed play to your home this summer too! #nomoreschool #iambored #nodevices #summerfun #getkidicted #iamkidicted #realworldkids www.iamkidicted.com

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