We all have seen Pinterest boards on “101 Ways To Keep Your Child Busy This Summer”. We’ve read the articles on how horrible it is for kids to sit in front of the TV on a beautiful summer day. We have browsed day trip suggestions in our area, looked at local events that might be of interest.
Since June, I’ve been scheduling play dates at the spray parks, days down the shore, trips to museums and plays. My daughter and I have done crafts and picnics and walks. It’s almost August. And I’m tired! I just need a day to recharge.
Last week, my 5 year old woke up, ready to go as soon as her feet hit the floor. “What are we doing today, Mommy?“. She was looking at me, eyes wide with anticipation.
I don’t know. I don’t have anything planned.
She looked confused. So she continued. “Who are we seeing today?”.
No one. It’ll probably be just us.
She broke out into a big smile. “What crafts are we going to do?”.
I didn’t make anything special for today.
Then the pout. Geez, way to make me feel like Mother of The Year! I told her we were going to have a free day to do whatever we wanted. We could relax, we could make up games, we could play dress up. We were just going to stay at home. “Oh, okay.”
Through breakfast, she kept sighing loudly and asking more questions about the day. She then began to ask me if I remembered when we did XYZ (mind you, she was recalling and questioning events that happened a few weeks or days ago!). I told her I did remember and that was fun. But even though I didn’t come up with something different for today, staying home can be just as fun. “Oh, okay.” She sounded bored already!
The scene of Russell Crowe in Gladiator came to my mind.
Are you not entertained?, he bellowed.
I felt like Russell Crowe.
We try our best to give our kids a fun summer filled with loads of things to keep them active and stimulated. And I think it’s in these instances when you realize how much our idea of fun changes from when we are children to adults. I would be so happy sitting around doing nothing but reading a good book and enjoying some quiet time. My 5 year old…not so much.
My daughter has a wonderful imagination and I always encourage her to use it. I really can’t complain because she is actually very good at keeping herself entertained. Could I really fault her for her initial reaction to our “no plan” day? After all, we’ve kept so busy all summer. She had grown used to it. So after breakfast, I turned the day over to her.
Our day at home with no plans or Pinterest worthy crafts, started with story time to all her stuffed animals and ended with a fancy ball in our family room (complete with both mommy and daughter donning evening dresses!). A tea party, coloring and cooking lesson filled the gaps in between. I was even able to sit on the patio and listen to music with an iced coffee while she decided to practice writing the alphabet.
At the end of the day, my daughter told me she had a wonderful day. I thanked her for the day she planned for us. She hugged me and thanked me….“for all my days you plan special things for me, Mommy!”
And just like that, I’m recharged to finish out the rest of our summer together. Whether we are on the go or taking it easy at home. You don’t need to search Pinterest all the time or plan play dates everyday. That’s not what keeping your child stimulated is all about. Sure those things are great and fun! But there’s no need to plan until Mom is beyond exhausted. Either way, we keep each other entertained with each other’s company and using some imagination. No plan required.