Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer fun without the summer sitter

When we were planning the girls' summer activities this year we left out an important element. For the past six years we've had a summer sitter. First it was our niece Samantha, then our friend Jayne. Their job was to take the girls to different activities and generally keep them busy during the weekdays while I worked. It wasn't a full-time job, but it was enough that the girls did everything we wanted them to and more.

This year we decided the girls were old enough to be without a summer sitter. We reasoned that they had two week-long camps (Girl Scouts and horseback riding) with full day schedules. They also have a writing/drawing camp running 1/2 day for two weeks coming up. In between we had vacations and other activities. We figured that when they weren't in camp we could fill their days with play dates with friends and lazy play-at-home days.

When we designed our grand summer scheme it was March or April. The whole thing seemed so easy when we put it on paper. As we moved closer to Memorial Day, and the girls getting out of school came closer, I started to wonder if we made the right choice.

It turns out we did.

So far their summer has been a mix of activities and play, with a good dose of pool time. They've spent lots of days riding their bikes in the neighborhood, playing with friends and bouncing from pool to pool. They've had sleepovers at camp and with friends. They've spent days in their pajamas playing in our basement or their room.

One of my main worries was they would be bored so they would beg to watch television all the time. They haven't done that, but they have spent more time in front of a screen than planned. The girls used the money they received for their communion to purchase 7-inch tablet computers. They've had a great time learning to use them. Of course, one of the first things they learned was how to download their favorite shows and videos. When they say they are playing on their tablets I just assume they are watching a show. They have games and texting and other activities, but they are enjoying the ability to watch shows on demand just as much.

So far their summer is going just as planned, which is a pleasant development. We figured this summer was an experiment. If it went well we'd use this summer as a blueprint for future years. If not, we'd have to find a new summer sitter. It's nice when your plans come together in real life just like you put them down on paper.

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