Summer vacation begins in two days, and the Mama trembles in her boots. Suddenly the house will hold three children instead of one (the only one who takes naps).
Panic ensues and she remembers last summer: the endless circuit of day camps, 4-H, and doctor’s appointments (due to a first-weekend-of-summer broken arm). Summer is supposed to be fun, carefree, relaxing, peaceful. Last summer was not any of those.
Always a planner, the Mama begins rolling ideas through her head, reading books, articles, blogs, frantically searching for The Plan for summer. In conflict with this planning mentality is the mama’s conviction that summers should be fun, carefree, relaxing, and peaceful, and that learning happens best when the child’s interests lead.
And yet she knows . . . there will be moments in which there will need to be A Plan. There will be moments of boredom, which lead to moments of pestering, which lead to everything’s-not-so-fun-in Siblingville. It will rain for ten days straight and she will be at her wit’s end. The Only One Who Takes a Nap, won’t, and there will need to be a Plan.
Enter the voice of reason: Cowboy. He convinces the Mama to take a step back, think things through calmly, and develop something workable and low-maintenance. Together they come up with The Summer That Will Be.
This summer there will be . . .
1. A Schedule (just enough of one to keep everyone sane)—predictable mealtimes, naptime, and daily duties. Other than that, your time is your own (within reason).
2. Strewing—A topic secret tactic whereby Cowboy and the Mama strategically and nonchalantly place items around the house to pique each child’s interest in different topics and activities, luring them into meaningful activity. (For more on strewing go here, here or here [amazon link])
3. Implementing The Bored Box & The Idea Box—The first items “strewn” in Cowboy & the Mama’s summer plan have generated much speculation over the past couple of weeks. The Idea Box is for those household citizens who admit and accept their summer boredom problem and exhibit a willingness to take responsibility for correcting it. “Taking responsibility” involves drawing one card with an impossible-to-resist activity listed on it and completing said activity. All items in The Idea Box are, of course, exhilarating and irresistible!
If boredom becomes such a problem that an intervention is needed, the Facilitator (a.k.a. The Mama) will step in with an item from The Bored Box. The Bored Box contains an unproportional ratio of un-fun, un-irresistible activities (some might call them chores) to fun Idea-Box-type activities.
4. Ditching the Plan—In times of distress and despair (mainly the Mama’s), or if the wee ones just need some livening up, the Mama reserves all rights to Ditch the Official Plan. (This last one was inspired, in part, by SouleMama’s recent post).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’ll be handling your summer vacation!