Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Summer Schedules

Everywhere around me lately I'm hearing about people's plans for their kids during the summer. They are all seemingly in a frenzy getting their kids signed up for various things and planning out the whole summer. One of my friends is working it so that there is something "planned" pretty much EVERYDAY. A gymnastics class. A swimming lesson. A camp. SOMETHING. She wants her kids to have something to look forward to everyday.

I overheard another parent on the T-Ball team trying to arrange a playdate or two with another family for sometime during one of the two weeks not already completely scheduled. She was trying to arrange a date for the boys to play near the end of July, and it wasn't even May yet.

Has it always been like this? Is it me? I'd like a few fun activities for the kids this summer, too, and have looked at the day-camp schedule at the YMCA (since I get a discount - yay!), but am disheartened to see that the breakouts for camps don't overlap for my two kids. So that would mean that I could put Lauren into a mini-camp for 3 & 4 yr olds for two hours a day for a week's time, but it's from 10am - noon. The 1/2 day camps for kids Nicholas' age don't start until the afternoon. Which would mean that I'd be driving out there in the morning to drop Lauren off, get 2 hours to do SOMETHING with Nicholas before going back to pick up Lauren, then we'd have an hour (for lunch?) before Nicholas would have to be there for his camp. And then I'd have 4 hours with Lauren before having to be back there to pick up Nicholas. In other words: BIG FAT HASSLE I'M NOT SIGNING UP FOR. Lauren doesn't need that "activity" so badly to make the juggling act of accommodating it worth it. I still might sign Nicholas up for a few day camps throughout the summer, but I'm going to play it by ear.

And that, my friends, constitutes the extent of my summer planning so far.

I envision a summer of going to the various parks around us and playing, free of a time schedule. I envision taking a few days here and there and going to my parents lake cabin and swimming, hiking and boating on their new boat. We'll come home when we're ready, free of a schedule. I envision waking the kids up one morning and announcing something exciting we're doing THAT DAY, and I envision days where nothing in the slightest is planned and (gasp!) the kids will be bored. I'm an advocate of letting kids get bored, actually. I think boredom breeds creativity and invention, and helps kids foster the ability to entertain themselves. They might decide to ride their bikes and scooters all afternoon, or create a silly game in the backyard, or ask me to turn on the sprinkler because they're hot and want to cool off. I don't know, but I want plenty of it. Another thing I know: I don't want to spend the summer in a hot car shuttling my kids from one activity to another. Screw that.

Like I said above, there will be a few planned activities throughout the summer: perhaps a weekend or two of camping. A possible road trip to San Francisco for a long weekend. Maybe the annual whitewater rafting trip for just Mr. Chick and I with friends - no kids. A few week-long 1/2 day camps for Nicholas. But am I planning on scheduling out the entire summer in advance? HELL NO. I don't get that. Maybe if I was a working parent and NEEDED to have a plan in place for everyday in the summer that would be different. That I understand. But if you're NOT working? I guess not everyone is a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants kind of person. I'm in the middle - I like having a few things planned in advance to look forward to and have as "givens", but mostly I like summer to be open and free and slightly devil-may-care. Some of the most fun things happen when you least expect it. Get-togethers that come together spontaneously. Neighbors pulling off dinner in the street while all the kids run around playing. Going to the park and running into friends and playing all afternoon. Happy surprises.

I guess the bottom line is my summer schedule is no schedule at all. What are your plans?

Funny, I started an entry on my blog last night about our summer plans, just finished it and that is what your entry is about. And Amen to what you said. Not scheduling activites for my kids everyday. Making playdates in JULY???? That is crazy. Why do these kids have to be doing something all the time? What happened to just playing outside??
In my opinion Summer is the only time that kids have to be kids. I think it's trendy to be 'ultra' overscheduled. I have 1 kid and she's only got 1 activity during the school year. I know people who are always zooming the kids from here to there for activites.
Plus, I don't have the $$ to fund alot of things. I do work full time but still.

Our Y is out for the summer, they let the kids run wild and they are pretty disrespectful. I agree with you flying by the seat of your pants. They will only be little once.

Our summer camps fill up in Jan because so many kids have working parents. One other sad thing, we don't have a child filled neighborhood and we allow our daughter to go to school on teacher work days to go on field trips just to break up her week. She know's its a treat.

I think your doing just fine. I cannot wait to change jobs to a summer off type of job.
I'm with you, sister! I've signed my daughter up for a couple of summer camp weeks and there will be swimming lessons at some point. VBS will be thrown in there, too, but that's at night this year. We'll have two weeks family vacation. Other than that we are basking by the pool and playing with friends. Kids need the summer to unwind (and so do we!!).
My summer plans revolve around the impending purchase of our daycare. I will be working for the first time 6 years, not just working for the first time in 6 summers but in 6 years....yea, big times a head. No activities at all for my kiddo's yet. No swimming, gymnastics or karate. All of which I had dreams of before I had children and now I think, they need to be kids while they are kids, right?
I remember when my brother and I were kids, having our friends come over in the morning for a pick-up game at the park. We also had impromptu 'playdates', and swimming at the local pool. The memories of those summers still make me smile. Kids are too overscheduled these days! They've got plenty of time for that.

What are we doing? Six, one hour per week, sessions of Parent-Tot swimming with my 2 year old. My four-year old will have some swim lessons, some daycamps, one week of VBS and a one week family vacation. That's pretty much it. We hope to meet friends at different parks in our area and have lunch while there. However, that is not planned out specifically. While I do like having a few things on the calendar, I don't want to have my whole summer planned out in advance. Where's the fun in that?

I'm totally with you on this one. I don't plan tons of stuff with my kids for the summer. Swimming lessons and ds plays baseball so we have that in the evenings for the first 6 weeks of summer, but that's it. We'll do fun stuff I'm sure, but I don't plan it out in advance.

I think it's great for kids to have time to just PLAY outside and do whatever they feel like.

Stick to your guns and let them be kids and PLAY with no strings attacched.

My daughter (13) is on an all star traveling softball team. We start our tournaments next weekend and finish the 2nd week of July. None of them are at least 2 hours from our home; most of them are 3 day tournaments. When I saw that, my summer flashed right before my eyes!! Fun, but busy, considering I have a full time job, and an 11 year old also!!
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