Gardening

Summer Plans for Teens and Tweens

I don’t know how it happened, but summer is 7 VERY short school days away, and I don’t know about you, but I am not ready.  With three kids home for a lot of days, plus a husband that works from home, this mom has to have some sort of a plan in order for this long break to run smoothly.  And I don’t know if you have tried looking at the holy oracle (aka Pinterest) for help, but there is not a lot out there once your kids pass the age of 10.  I don’t know if it is because a lot of moms have gone back to work, or people just let their kids go crazy with electronics, but info on occupying older kids is scarce ya’ll!  Luckily, I am here to help!  Well, actually, I have to have some plans for my own kids, and now I have a blog that needs content….so yes!  This is all for you!!!

First up, I use one of those cute ideas I did happen upon on Pinterest several years ago.  You know the one that has a list of things the kids need to do before they can use electronics?  Unfortunately, my kids have cell phones now, so keeping them off of their devices is a lot harder than it used to be, and I certainly can’t do that “change the wifi password” idea, either.  But I do have a few tricks up my sleeve….

  • We have put a password on the xBox,  I am sure this will drive me ABSOLUTELY bananas, but it is the only trick I have where the xBox is concerned.  Our kids have their own lounge area in the basement, and I detest going into the basement, so that means they sneak on it at every opportunity, those little weasels.  An password should really help me out with the policing part of my job.
  • Right now, we have a big console table in the main part of the great room that has a massive charging station on it.  Because 5 people = lots of things that need to charge.  I do not let my kids have devices in their rooms.  Do they still take them into their rooms?  Of course.  But I am fairly militant about the charging chords so there is only so long that works.  Anyway, my new plan for summer of ’18 is to move the charging station to my bedroom.  Yup, you heard it here first.  That way, there is no sneaking it after mom goes to bed, or getting up early and bringing it to bed, etc etc etc.  And also, that means they will need to go into my room to get it, which is pretty easy for me to spot.  Crossing my fingers that this helps!

So, to prep for my sheet about “do all these things before you rot your brains with electronics” list, I made a giant bucket list of chores I would love to have done around here.  We are incredibly busy during the school year around here, and all three kids trickle in and out of the house at different times, so regular chores are spotty at best, with the exception of the dishwasher and their laundry.  As a result, I love instituting regular chores in the summer.  For one thing, it eats up time, and for another my house seems to be constantly messy with everyone home all.of.the.time, and it helps bring a little order to this freewheelin’ time of year.  Anyway, this year there will be daily chores  (as in they do this same chore every day) and weekly chores (again, they do one daily but the same chore is only done once a week).  Hope that makes sense!  Oh, why don’t I show you?  That would certainly help….  Summer Chore List 2018

Another thing I found on the pinterest versions of these chore/summer lists was encouraging them to do things that didn’t involve screens, and a time minimum for those things.  Now, I should remind you all here that my kids are currently 15, 13 and 11.  The last two are huge readers and still pretty young at heart in terms of playing together and outside, etc.  But the oldest is really trying hard to shed his childish persona and really rebels against such mundane things as using his imagination or playing with his siblings in a non-electronic game scenario.  Therefore, this list is more geared towards him, although the other two are more and more into their online things as well.  My point is, I am including on the list this year tow things: instead of just “read for x amount of minutes” I put “read/color/draw/write”.  He is not a big reader and making him do something like that for a long period of time (I am saying an hour for them this summer) just doesn’t work.  I know, we have tried it.  He does, however, like to write and draw so I hope that will appease him somewhat.  I also put a generic “spend an hour outside” category on the list.  I don’t care if they lay in the grass and stare at the clouds, just get your tiny behinds outside for awhile and inhale the fresh air.  And leave Mommy alone!  You can see the fancy thing I whipped up on a Word Document here: New Day 2018  .  I print both of theses things out and put them up on our family command center.

Whew!  So, that was a lot about this little list thing I am doing, but to be honest, it really frames my entire summer schedule for me and is therefore important.  We used to do a summer bucket list, but I personally do not find them fun, they seem like pressure.  So, I don’t do that anymore.

I am also not a huge fan of filling the days with various expensive camps, mostly because we just spent 9 months running around in the mornings and afternoons into the evening, and I am looking to slow down for the next 3 months (the kids are as well).  They like to sleep in and I like the quiet so I let them.  I like the flexibility for sleepovers (especially with the grandparents for several days!) and plus the cost of so many camps is not really in our budget.  Momma needs that cash to fly off to Paris at a moments notice.

Having said that, there are a few things we can’t get out of doing this summer (or thought were a good idea anyway).  My son has to take PE this summer, because it doesn’t fit into his schedule next year.  My daughter is doing 2 basketball camps and a volleyball camp, the latter to see if it is something she wants to sign up for in the fall or not.  My oldest is in baseball, and he has games, practices and tournaments during June and July.

Then, like I said, we like to ship them off to the grandparents as often as possible.  They also enjoy a long weekend with Lin and Matt off the grid.  They might do a road trip with my parents to see family.  And we live on the lake and have a boat, so that is always a good idea.

The last thing I really like to do is set up a box with fun things for the last day of school.  Sometimes I do a banner, too, like “You made it!” or “Yay!  Summer!!”.  I have been collecting fun things the last few weeks and hiding them.  Checkout our instagram page next week, where I will be sharing the last day of school stuff (don’t want to leak it to my kids too early!).

Do you have any other good ideas for how to keep kids off screens in the summer?  Would love to hear what you do!

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