Summertime by Robin Gorman Newman

When I was a kid, I recall going to day camp one summer.  Otherwise, I hung out with my friends, played tennis, squash, roller skated, biked around the neighborhood and in the park, etc.

Kids these days are so scheduled.

My son goes to Shibley Day Camp.  He’s gone there for a number of years and has enjoyed it.  We originally toured a variety of local day camps and gave Seth the option to choose where he wanted to go.  He chose Shibley and hasn’t looked back….but this summer, things seem different.  Not that he doesn’t have fun, but there was an issue at camp.  He was acting a bit assertively with some of the other kids.  This is unlike Seth who is typically the first to help a kid or anyone.  He’s always been hugely empathetic.

Wednesday he asked if he could stay home for the day.  I asked if it was due to the incident at camp…we had discussed it with him the night before.  He said no…he was just tired.  I asked if he needed a break for the day, and he said yes, and that he’d return to camp the next day.  He had a peaceful day at home playing largely on his computer and spending time with me.  We had no particular plans…just chilled. 

This summer has been a brutal one weather wise….between the rain and high heat and humidity.  We even lost power one night due to a torrential thunder storm.   At camp, the kids run around a ton, and he comes home exhausted.  On top of this, the day is much longer than school.  The camp bus picks him up 8:25am, and he gets home around 4:30pm.  Even I find it tiring, since his school bus used to come 8:45.  Since I’m a non-morning person, I relish every extra moment I get to stay in bed.

When did summer become so about doing?

His school even sent home a recommended reading list for summer, so kids don’t fall behind.

When do kids get to do nothing?

And, what about us parents who have to keep to their schedule?

Isn’t there something to be said for just winging it?!  Sometimes the best experiences in life come when they’re unplanned.

Seth asked me today why he had to go to camp?  I said that he had chosen to, and that daddy and I paid for it.  I explained that if he’d like to not go to camp next summer, we can discuss other options.  Thankfully this summer, we only signed him up for six weeks…which really do go quickly.

I asked what he’d prefer to do….and he said play with his computer.  I said so maybe we can find a computer camp next summer?!

The point is that as parents we want our kids to be busy and engaged…partly so we can get done what we are trying to accomplish….but doing “nothing” isn’t really nothing.  I like to think of it as rejuvenation…maybe even inspiration.

Our bodies and brains need rest.  Sometimes our best ideas come when idle.  And, this holds true for kids as well.

I look forward to our summer weekends, when the alarm doesn’t go off…though Seth does take golf lessons on Sunday mornings…but my husband usually awakes before his alarm, so he can take him. 

I will actually be happy….I think….when camp ends.  Seth and I can pal around and work on our respective computers.  We’ll go to the pool, and have dedicated downtime.  That type of “dedicated” time I will welcome….and I’m confident he will as well (until he says he’s bored…which with a 9 year old….ya never know when they share that sentiment…..).  There’s no perfect solution to summertime.





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  1. One Response to “Summertime by Robin Gorman Newman”

  2. Boy, can I relate…kids are almost over scheduled more in the summer, when it’s 99 degrees, than the rest of the year! My husband is not helping matters, either. When Brandon came home from sleep away camp, I had him for the weekend. I knew he needed downtime. We stayed indoors for half of Sunday then went to the pool for a couple hours. Meanwhile, my husband has every second already planned for this coming weekend with Brandon. When my husband was uncertain whether they should do one activity or the other, I asked him…”Did you ever think of asking Brandon what HE wants to do?” Just because my husband is ADHD and not on meds, doesn’t mean he has to over exert our son into exhaustion. Just now, in fact, I just spoke to my husband who said, “Take Brandon to karate even if he says he doesn’t want to go. He’ll be fine once he’s there.” I said to myself, “Dislike. If my son is exhausted from a long day at camp and says he is too tired to go to karate, we’re going home to an air conditioned house and resting.” All kids need downtime…just as we adults do!

    By Cara Potapshyn Meyers on Jul 25, 2012