Monday, June 27, 2011

Keeping the fun in summer

Summertime can be fast-paced. Especially when you have children. Lately, we haven’t seen much of our pre-teen daughter. She’s eleven and constantly moving. Even as a toddler she loved to be on the go. We could be walking out of Six Flags with ice cream in our hands and she’d be asking, “What are we doing next?”

This summer is no exception. The first week out of school, she went to a church camp in East Texas where they have climbing, boating, games, slides … tons of fun. It’s hard to see her go as soon as school is out, but my husband and I sent her with notes of love and encouragement to open each day, and even emailed her via the camp’s website.

As soon as she returned, it was time for our church’s Vacation Bible School. And after that, she got invited to an impromptu road trip to San Antonio with family friends, to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

Nice work if you can get it.

I’m happy to report that our daughter will be at home next week. I miss her when she’s not around. She’s thoughtful, caring and brings a special energy to wherever she goes. It’s no surprise that she’s often invited to go places.

Meanwhile, our seven-year old son is visiting my parents in San Antonio this week and living it up. He’s gone to the movies, multiple dinners out, and been swimming every day at his cousins’ new pool. He’s basically the center of attention between two people whose once-rigid care to not spoil their own children has been wantonly abandoned for the next generation.

As much fun as the kids have during the summer, it’s nice when everyone is home. We laugh. We play with our pets. Family game tournaments and cooking are something we all enjoy.

But at home, and especially during the summer, it can be tough to compete with the level of activity our kids are used to. And as soon as you think you’ve settled into a nice groove, it’s like they’ve developed an immunity to a certain type of fun. What was exciting yesterday has turned to “We do this all the time!” 24 hours later.

Is this something you experience? As a parent, new ideas are always welcome. How do you engage with busy kids in a way that shows you care about your time together, but doesn’t feel like “forced family fun” to them?

Let’s hear from you. I can sense a fun immunity developing.

Michelle Vanderburg is a Sr. Marketing Specialist for Texas Health Resources and Mom of two busy kids.

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