Please stop with the summer slide bullshit.
Please stop crowd sourcing ideas to force your kids to do chores and academic work over the summer.
Stop with the chore charts. Enough with coercion. Stop with the control. Stop the abuse.
Every summer, and often throughout the year, I see parents, usually moms, ask how to get their kids to do anything other than use a screen.
Are we so miserable that we want our kids to be miserable too?
I played all summer long until I began college. What has changed that we want our kids to suffer or earn the right to play?
I don’t earn my screentime. Why should my kids earn theirs?
I’m gonna go out on a limb and surely be unpopular, but I don’t require my kids to do anything to earn screentime. I don’t earn screentime. I don’t require them to complete anything academic in the summer. I don’t require summer reading.
The interesting thing is they are very willing to help with household tasks when they have freedom and respect. I help them put their clothes away and clean and organize their rooms and spaces. They need scaffolding and modeling and can’t be expected to know how to be a functioning adult without guidance.
They choose to do puzzles, outside play, reading, board games…when they’re not desperately thinking of their next earned screen minute. Screens suddenly become just another activity to do along with so many other options. There is no scarcity mentality with the freedom to choose.
I think the screen is just becoming a symbol for our own triggers and lack of control and communication skills
The only rule is all devices are plugged in away from beds at bedtime.
My kids are 12, 15, 16, 21.
They do actually notice when things need done and do chores cheerfully because they’re members of a household where they have a voice.
My kids can’t talk back to me.
We discuss options and I state my case about my concerns for my kids’ safety and health. They have no reason to be deceitful. They know that I love and respect them and truly have their best interests in my mind and heart.
I realize it’s the societal norm for kids to be monitored and controlled and dictated, but it creates disharmony and it’s so much more work keeping track. We’re not about competition or charts or checklists. We’re about cooperation.
We homeschool, but they have freedom there too. We go with the flow rather than strict schedule.
Schools are coercive, humiliating, controlling, and abusive. Students are forced to learn information to regurgitate the info on a test and then they promptly purge that from their memories. Students don’t learn valuable skills in school; they learn how to jump through hoops. Schools are not preparing kids to be questioners, thinkers, or leaders. The authorities don’t want people to have a voice, autonomy, or freedom.
It’s ironic that so many school assignments requires screens and going online.
Children only have 18-21 summers before they have to be working adults. I want them to make memories and have fun, to be wild and free. I don’t want them to dread summertime as just another chore-filled season.
Many schools go year-round and lots of parents overschedule their kids, including during summer. Just because it’s expected and considered the norm doesn’t mean we have to participate in making our kids work year-round.
Also, enough with all the tutoring and test prep.
Kids are tired. Let them play.
What does summer look like for your kids?
You might also like:
- 10 Ways to Have a Sandlot Summer
- 50 Frugal Summer Outdoor Activities
- How To Have an Easy Summer
- How to Have a Legendary Summer
- Stop Making Everything So Educational
- 12 Things Homeschoolers Don’t Have to Do
- I Don’t Teach English
- We Don’t Do Testing
- We Don’t Do a Co-op
- I Threw out the Printables
Linking up: Eclectic Red Barn, Mostly Blogging, Create with Joy, Anita Ojeda, Pinch of Joy, Silverado, Random Musings, InstaEncouragements, LouLou Girls, Jenerally Informed, Shelbee on the Edge, Ridge Haven, God’s Growing Garden, Ducks in a Row, OMHG, Soaring with Him, Joanne Viola, RidgeHaven, Fluster Buster, Penny’s Passion, Bijou Life, Try it Like it, Artful Mom, Bijou Online, Momfessionals, Modern Monticello, Slices of Life, Imparting Grace, CWJ, Answer is Chocolate, April Harris, Suburbia,
Overall, I agree! We also homeschooled and when we were on a break from school, summer or whenever, it was treated as a break. We encouraged the kids to do something useful and something educational each day, but it was not required. They had jobs around the house just to keep things running smoothly, but those were year round. When they were high school age, they WANTED to work in the summer. It seems like when parents model a healthy work/leisure balance, a strong work ethic, and a sense of responsibility, kids learn that is part of being an adult. But play is the “work” of children and they should be allowed to do that. Good post!
Jennifer Lambert says
I didn’t have a break from school or work from age 16 until I got married and had babies. My kids have the choice. It’s different for a lot of kids who don’t have autonomy or choice and are just shuffled from tutoring to sports to classes to school to church activities and have no breaks even to eat meals or sleep enough.
Lisa notes says
“Kids are tired. Let them play.” Amen! I remember how much I loved summers as a kid. Yes, I still had chores to do and I did them, but summer was for playing with friends and being outside using our imagination, etc., and I still grew up to be a responsible adult. :) Thanks for sharing this side of things.
Ashley Rowland | HISsparrowBlog says
I don’t have kids of my own, but I have long felt the same about my step-children. Parents are encouraged to micromanage their kids really, but they just need to be kids while they can. That’s not to say they have no responsibility; they just need age appropriate responsibility balanced with time to play and be creative in their own time management instead of being scheduled nonstop.
I don’t have kids, but I totally agree with you. Why? Because that’s how I was raised – with respect and good communication. Consequently, my parents and I got along well. I wanted to help out. And free time allows children to be curious. It’s a trait that so many adults lack. Sadly, it makes them vulnerable to the latest emotional manipulation.
I will be featuring your post in Sunday’s Link-up Potpourri.
When I was a child, I used to help my mother during the holidays, from 10 am to 12 o’clock. With household chores. I went to the store, I cleaned the toilet, my own room had to be clean and I took care of my little garden. I took also care of my mom’s houseplants. We got 2 guilders for it, my brother and I (per week). After 12 noon, we had plenty time to play. Playing with the neighborhood children, writing my stories at home, going to a zoo with my father. It were the ordinary things that made the holiday so special.
Yes, also TV time with my friend. I remember Maya the Bee. Together on the couch. We didn’t have to earn TV time but it was limited.
April J Harris says
I agree, kids need to be kids while they can. Also, they do learn through play as well. Thank you for sharing this with Hearth and Soul, Jen.
great articles on your blog! I really love these family articles.