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When Summer Never Ends
Mom with a View

When Summer Never Ends

Help! I’ve got the “it’s summer again and the kids are already bored” blues.

by

Every year around this time I take out a calendar and stare dumbly at the empty weeks between the end of the school year in June and its starting date in September. Just who is this super long vacation supposed to benefit? Certainly not the parents who, after going bankrupt to send their little angels to camp, discover that there are still 4 weeks of “vacation” time remaining.

And not even the kids who, after two days of sleeping in and a few too many rounds of “no more pencils, no more books…” discover an amazing fact: they are bored. They actually miss the structured days. They even miss the learning, although I dare you to get them to acknowledge it.

No one – parents, teachers, students – wants the children to forget everything they’ve learned and no one wants them to learn unending without a break. But how about a significantly smaller one?! We are not an agrarian society any more and very few of our children are needed to work the fields.

It’s really out of consideration for my children and not from a purely selfish perspective that I’d like to see the current schedule revised (really).

However, since my prayers have gone unanswered, I need to make the best of things. There are those who enjoy the unstructured and days of summer, those who appreciate the lack of order, the lack of routine, the lack of strict waking times and bedtimes, the fact that there are no demands and nothing to accomplish. I am not one of those people. I like order, routine, structure – and some time to myself! But, whatever your personality type, summertime is an opportunity (I’m just racking my brains to figure out exactly what it is!).

Besides the obvious family time, summer definitely seems to move at a different pace, sort of in slow motion. It really is a time to “stop and smell the roses.”

And even though part of the challenge is that, while our children may be on vacation from school, we are not on vacation from our own jobs, we can frequently take it down a notch, push a little less hard, come home a little earlier.

Everything just seems to move at a more at a more relaxed tempo. Evenings are stretched out with the daylight and there’s no rush to bed. This allows us to savor the moment instead of screaming “Brush your teeth and get into bed now!”

Part of the frustration in parenting stems from the need to get so many things done in such a short time – dinner, homework, baths and bed, for example – but in the summer, that pressure is removed and we can step back and catch our breath. We can exhale slowly.

Additionally our time together is much more stress-free. There is no agenda, just the chance to enjoy.

In fact, now that I think about it, the opportunity of summer of spending time appreciating each moment is something to be intensely grateful for, something not to wish away.

I think I’ll probably be singing a new song in September when they head back to school. I’ll probably have the “Oh darn, school has started again” blues.

Published: July 14, 2012


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Visitor Comments: 3

(3) Ernest Miller, July 23, 2012 8:38 AM

I don't know. I thought the time between summer camp and the start of the new school semester was suppose to be the time when a family goes on vacation together and when parents buy new clothes for their chuldren for the school year and new school books and school supplies. Where is the time to be bored? Am I being old fashioned or what?

(2) Anonymous, July 20, 2012 4:01 PM

Homeschooling Mom

As a homeschooling mom, I find I don't really have this problem. We have all learned to live with each, and have found our own structure within the framework of Shabbat. If the focus of the week is on Shabbat, then the early week has plenty of time for outings and play dates. The middle of the week is for grocery shopping and laundry, and Friday is for cooking, picking up toys,cleaning, and setting the table. Everyone has to help. I squeeze in plenty of time at the park that is near our house, I spend time supervising my kids and the neighbors so that things go smoothly, and they have fun, and I provide lots of stimulating projects. My kids love to to read, listen to audio books, sew with a machine, do simple wood craft projects that cost one dollar from the big box craft store, and work on their own learning projects. There are squabbles, of course, but there is enough time that the children have plenty of time for positive relationship building. It's possible that families can find their own rhythms outside of the framework of school and camp. We have sacrificed being able to own a home, and buying fancy clothes and expensive toys, but the children don't feel as if they are suffering, and we have had a lot of precious moments.

(1) Yehudit, July 17, 2012 7:45 PM

Too much intensity

I think the problem with the summer vacation is the prolonged time together causes an unnatural intensity, which in turn can challenge even the best family relationships. It's simply not normal to spend either so much time together ( no camp ) or absolutely no time at all together ( camp) and the combination of both is confusing. It's simply a case of extremes not being good for anybody. Who is the vacation good for, you ask? The people that make a MINT out of keeping us all happy and entertained!!!!! Not to mention Ben and Jerry's, Hershey's, Starbucks.....

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