• margaretfmadigan

If You Kids Don't Go Outside, the Beatings Will Begin!

For those of us that have kids… the summer vacation is almost over or if you live on the East Coast like me we still have a month to go. Either way, I’ve been thinking about summer vacations of my youth and every time my kids say “I’m bored”, I try to remember what I did to occupy my time in the summer as a yute.

However, my kids are at different ages where one size does not fit all.  So I kind of ran through the stages of summer entertainment according to age group.  My kids now are 19-16-14.  So here we go:

Birth – 4

It’s pretty much all about the diaper changes, meals and naps.  There is the occasional foray into the kiddie pool or walk in the stroller.  But it’s just about the same as the rest of the year.  You just get a reprieve from putting so many clothes on a kid.  My son spent every summer of this time period in just shorts and no shirt.  Now at 19, he’s come full circle, never a shirt and I’m lucky if I get him to put on shorts.

Ages 5-8

This is about the time they start whining about friends.  “I want to play with Jimmy”, “I want to play with Suzie”.   Which makes it a little difficult because things aren’t the same as they were for us.  In my day, there were all these older brothers and sisters to play in the yard with you, so if you have a friend over, there’s some sort of supervision.  With no older kids to pawn them off on, you get to plant yourself outside and “supervise”.  Nowadays, everybody wants to have a God damn “play date”,  and you can’t really leave your kids that age unattended because there are lots of pervs around.  So you’re whole summer is spent being a “Dry Land Life Guard”.

Also it;s not like in our day where we lived in city neighborhoods and you just walked across the street to play.  Now everybody lives in the suburbs on estates and kids need a fucking tram to get house to house.  So at this point getting them into camps and activities kind of takes care of the socializing and entertaining in one fell swoop.

If you’re a working parent, you just dump these kids in day care all summer anyhow.  That’s what I had to do and be all guilt-ridden.

Ages 9-12

At this age in my day, we left the house after breakfast and had to be home by the time the street lights came on.  Kids can be left unattended outside at this point but not endlessly like we could.   You’re lucky if you live in a development where they can run free.  But the level of entertainment satiation kicks up a notch.  Rolling a ball to each other doesn’t quite do the trick.  However, kid-organized games of soccer or capture the flag start to come in handy.  But then they want to bring in the whole neighborhood to play video games.   “Go outside!” becomes the Mom’s mantra.  But in your head it sounds like “God, will you kids get the fuck out of the house so I can get it clean for one minute before the next mess starts?”.

If you work, this is where it gets tricky… can I save some money and let them stay home alone?  That’s a call only you can make.  Camps are still a good option.  If you stay at home… sports, sports, sports.

Ages 13-14

It’s all about the opposite sex.  Where can we go to see boys/girls?   “Let’s ride our bikes to the beach.”  Yes, yes!  Go!  Go off on your own and entertain yourselves.  just be on the look out for pervs and don’t take rides from strangers.   That’s what we did back then and it’s pretty much the same now except for that suburban sprawl and needing rides things.   So sometimes in lieu of getting on bikes, they just Skype or text or Tweet or Facebook chat.  And that’s when, “Please, for the love of God, go outside” is Mom’s mantra again.  They’re getting too old to enroll in some activities but too young to get a job.  Solution – again sports, sports, sports.  But be prepared for lots of attitude at this age.

Ages 15-18

Get a job.  Period, end of story.  And in your spare time you’re too tired to do anything, but if you do, get your rich friend who’s Mummy and Daddy bought them a car and can haul your ass around.  Oh but now I have to worry about sex, drugs, and alcohol.  There is always a gathering at someone’s house and now firepits are the big thing.  They go to some kid’s house and sit outback around the fire, and you know some damn kid will have a pint.  Come on kids, can’t you just be occupied without me having to worry?  Then of course we become the bleary eyed parents again like when they were babies, because we wait up for them to come home.

Ages 18/19-22

You’re in college, if you can’t entertain yourself by now you have issues.   You must have a job, hopefully it’s a job where you go work at a summer camp or go away to work on a fishing boat.  Take an adventure, it will serve you well.  I worked at a summer camp in Massachusetts and it was awesome.  Plus my parents saved on food and booze. (drinking age was 18 and 19 back then)  And of course… I was somebody else’s problem.   Maybe get an internship, something you can start to build a resume with.  And for God sake, don’t drink and drive.

Well,  I guess it’s evident that some age groups may get a little easier but the responsibility never ends.  I still have about more years to go with the summer struggle.  Lord have mercy…

#boredom #summervacation #summeractivities #kids #summers

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