Most of us can smell summer coming. We can't wait for the freedom and sunshine and loose schedules.
And then we get what we wished for.
Is there a parent out there who hasn't heard the bewildering, "What can we do now," or "There's nothing to do here!" of summer?
If you're struggling with kids that are bored, here are a few suggestions:
1. Let them be bored. After hectic back-to-back activities during the school year, it takes awhile for kids' brains to shift gears. Nothing to do? Watch clouds. Boring? Plant flowers? Too hard? Tough. The key is to offer a few suggestions (which will be promptly dismissed) and then let go. Given enough time, kids will find something to do--collect cool rocks, make up a game, read a book. Kids have an incredible capacity to amuse themselves, if only we give them the time and space to do it.
2. Plan a weekly outing. Break up the routine of groceries and neighborhood playdates by getting out of your comfort zone. Usually take your kids to the zoo? Fine, but try a new museum next time. Have a favorite park? Save it for the fall...find a new one to try this summer. Pick strawberries, ride go-karts, hike the dunes or in the woods. When you try something new, it gives you all a shared experience to talk about and a sense of adventure.
3. Have a party. During football-soccer-basketball-swimming-lacrosse-hockey season, it's tough to get families together. Summer can be hard, too, with people heading for the beaches. Still, there are bound to be more bodies around than during practice/game time. Include the kids, choose a theme, make it potluck so you have fun too, and be sure to invite some families you don't know that well. Expanding your social horizons to include your kids friends and their families is a great way to connect--and help your kids connect--in your community.