What do working parents do with older kids during summer?

What should working parents do during the summer with young teens that are too old for day care but too young to get a job?

One of our commenters is trying to figure out what to do with her 14-year-old son this summer. She sent me this note:

“How about a topic about what to do with your kids this summer if you have a full-time job.  My son is 14.  Too old for day care, too young for a “real” job, and we live in the mountains where you have to be able to drive to get any where!  We do not even live in a subdivision.  I am sending him to camp for one week. (It’s all that I can afford!) What do you do with them for the other nine weeks?”

I called my mom to ask her what she did with us at that age. She worked full time at a large Baptist church in Decatur. We went to the church’s summer day camp when we were little. I started working as an assistant in the church’s daycare area when I was 15 and did that each summer until I went away to college.

At 14, she thinks I babysat for neighborhood families and also volunteered some at the church’s library shelving books.

I think your answer may be finding a day camp that needs assistant counselors, also known as counselors in training. They are probably not paid positions, but he’ll be with a group and he’ll be learning a skill where he could be paid next year.

I received a flyer in my water bill from Gwinnett County Parks saying they are looking for CIT volunteers. I know you don’t live in Gwinnett, but your local county parks and rec also may be looking. I also would check with your local YMCA and any large churches in your area. You probably would have to drop him off on your way to work and pick him up on your way home.

What do you guys think? What did you do during summers before you were officially old enough to work? What have you done with your 12- to-15 year olds during summers if you had to work? How old do they need to be to stay home every day alone during the summer?

62 comments Add your comment

JJ

March 17th, 2009
7:45 am

That was the hardest time, trying to find someplace “safe” during the day. My daughter stayed home most of the time, as did her friends.

I have a friend who owns a pet grooming business, so I could drop the kid off and she would work with our friend a few days a week.

I always wanted to open a place for the “tweens”, like the Boys and Girls Club. I think these kids need a place to go. Too young for a job, but to old for “day care”. They need a place to go and hang out.

T n T's Mom

March 17th, 2009
8:09 am

I remember staying home at that age, but my mome left me a list of chores to do to keep busy, laundry dishes, vacumm etc. I have done the same with my boys who are now 15 and 11. But at least they have each other to talk to and play video games with. This summer, the 15 yr old will be lifegaurding every day, so I will need things to keep the younger one occupied.

JJ

March 17th, 2009
9:22 am

Yup, that’s what my parents did, gave us a HUGE list of chores to be completed by the time they got home. I did that with my daughter too.
I told her if she’s home and I’m working, she is responsible for the household chores while she is home during the day.

Theresa

March 17th, 2009
9:24 am

How old do they have to be do that???

T n T's Mom

March 17th, 2009
9:47 am

The youngest started chores home alone at 8. He could pick up his room, empty dishwasher( items on lower shelves) and fold and put away his own laundry. As he is older now, he does more such as empty trash, clean bathroom, dust etc.

Sugar

March 17th, 2009
9:58 am

Theresa, Walsh & Rose are old enough for them to start having weekly chores. They can do laundry, clean up their rooms, and put stuff away, take care of the animals. We have two dogs, two cats & a turtle, and they require alot of attention, especially the dogs.

My daughter has been cleaning since she was around 8 years old. She’s always been a big help to me. She has always had the job of emptying the dishwasher, sorting her laundry, and sometimes doing the laundry. Some times, when she is home from school, I’ll come home to a spotless home (even the basement is clean). Very nice indeed.

Start giving your kids chores now. I always had to empty the dishwasher, and clean the bathrooms. My brother had to load the dishwasher and sweep the kitchen. And we both had to keep our rooms tidy. As we got older, there were more responsibilities.

RJ

March 17th, 2009
10:00 am

My 15 year old will be working as a camp counselor this summer. I had my first job at Six Flags when I was 15. If she weren’t doing that, she’d be doing some volunteer work somewhere. There are some camps available at county recreation centers that are pretty affordable. I would check those out as well.

Theresa

March 17th, 2009
10:19 am

Hey — A few months back I wrote that piece on having kids do more work around the house and referenced that list that Walsh’s K teacher gave us. Since then we have been trying to give them more to do around the house. They’re clearing the table, scraping dishes, cleaning the table and floor after dinner, doing a better job cleaning their rooms and I even had Rose vacuum the other day. That actually went pretty well. Rose help me get ready for Lilina’s birthday party (putting out party favors, plates, napkins, changing table linens, filling the pinata) and helped her grandfather put together Lilina’s new bookcase (helped take inventory on the pieces of wood and screws) — She is really getting to be useful around the house. I’m going to re-read your list Sugar and add some stuff into their assignments.

JJ

March 17th, 2009
11:01 am

And, lets not forget yard work chores too. They can help out around outside. Raking, weeding, planting, etc.

Kat

March 17th, 2009
11:44 am

Shelving. The word is shelving.

C.M.Thornton, III

March 17th, 2009
11:56 am

I was a latch key kid from the time I was 9 years old until I graduated high school. It was common back then. I got off the school bus, let my self in the house, and did my chores and home work. It was the same through the summer months. If I didn’t do what I was supposed to or if I did something wrong, I would have gotten my tail beat when my parents got home from work. Unfortunately todays kids arent as disciplined. Todays parents are pathetic. They shouldn’t “wonder what to do with my 14 year old”. Put his butt to work around the house and if he gets out of line, tear it up. If he does a good job, reward him with food and clothing and if he really earns it, a few bucks. Nothing like teaching kids to work for what they have. Letting them sit at home and do nothing all summer will prepare them for a future as a welfare recipient.

motherjanegoose

March 17th, 2009
12:00 pm

Did I miss something? What word is shelving?

Yes, chores are GREAT for kids. Even your baby can put a napkin on each plate, before dinner or gather the shoes and put them in a basket at the bottom of your stairway…one at a time.

I also am a big fan of paying for these projects BECAUSE my wallet has gone flat when the summer arrived and everyone wanted ice cream, movies, the waterpark pool etc. If you have a list of things…say: dusting or wiping windows ( dog slobber: we had Ole Yellar….lol) for $1 , they can save this up and decide for themselves if they would rather spend $5 on popcorn at the movies or $4 on ice cream at Bruesters ( sp?). Otherwise, they will be spending your money and have no consideration as to how much things cost.

motherjanegoose

March 17th, 2009
12:07 pm

Did I miss something? What word is shelving?

Yes, chores are GREAT for kids. Even your baby can put a napkin on each plate, before dinner or gather the shoes and put them in a basket at the bottom of your stairway…one at a time.

I also am a big fan of paying for these projects BECAUSE my wallet has gone flat when the summer arrived and everyone wanted ice cream, movies, the waterpark pool etc. If you have a list of things…say: dusting or wiping windows ( dog slobber: we had Ole Yellar….lol) for $1 , they can save this up and decide for themselves if they would rather spend $5 on popcorn at the movies or $4 on ice cream at Bruesters ( sp?). Otherwise, they will be spending your money and have no consideration as to how much things cost.
Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

sd

March 17th, 2009
12:11 pm

I would assign him homework. Books and book reports. Learn about science. Chores are fine, but its important to keep up, or get ahead with your studies as well.

There really is nothing more dangerous than a young person with nothing to do.

JJ

March 17th, 2009
12:15 pm

Yea, a “chore chart” where each chore has a “price”. I’ve done that with my daughter. She would put a check mark by each completed task, and at the end of the week, so would get paid. She was my little employee.

Tina

March 17th, 2009
12:24 pm

Chores are fine, but I think everyone is forgetting that they are still technically “kids” at that age. Most of our life is spent working. My teenagers do have things that I expect done, but I also think they need fun. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for summer! What kid is going to look forward to school being out when all they get to do is homework and chores? Not mine! In the past I would buy my girls crafts to do, games, etc. When I got home, I’d make sure to get them out of the house when I got home-either taking them to the pool, a store, or park.

Gwen

March 17th, 2009
12:27 pm

Kids do not want or need to stay in the house over the summer doing chores. There are camps for older children — academic, swimming, etc. This is not 1980.

Steph

March 17th, 2009
12:33 pm

Yes Gwen, there are camps for older children, however, PAYING for them is another thing.

nita

March 17th, 2009
12:35 pm

Gwen,

Camps aren’t cheap, they are expensive. I’m a single mother and with the price of food and everything else, I don’t have an extra 500+ dollars lying around for camps. Both my children have been invited to study at different colleges during the summer but they too are too expensive. It all boils down to the mighty dollar.

motherjanegoose

March 17th, 2009
12:39 pm

Tina….I think we are talking about tweens here….( I feel) they do need to get on board about pitching in and not just goofing off all summer. Especially when parents are paying for them to go to camp and other entertainment!

When I was 14, my sister and I picked blackberries on our farm and sold them for $5 per gallon. We also weeded a 1/2 acre garden. There were 12 rows and we each weeded 2 rows per day. Off on Sunday: no joke! We had to get up early to avoid the heat. We had farm chores too…baling hay….to this day when I pick up my 50 pound suitcases, I remember how heavy and scratchy those bales of hay were!
A little dusting and laundry folding is NOT going to hurt anyone.
CM…I absolutely agree with your last 2 sentences.

While I have a chance, I will brag on my son in Athens, who called to tell us that when it snowed on March 1/2, he headed out walking the 2 miles to his job. He could not move his car ( ice) and knew he needed to be at work….they were counting on him. Someone picked him up right as he was closing in on the last few blocks. His boss drove him home.

See why I do not feel that( me) pitching in and helping him find some insects for his Entomology Project hurt? He has the character that not many his age would have…many would simply call in sick to work and go back to bed.

who is sharing a TRIVIA question today….LOL!

JJ

March 17th, 2009
12:46 pm

Tina, we’re talking about during the day, when the kids are home alone. No one on this blog is a “slave driver” expecting their kids to work, work, work all summer long.

JJ

March 17th, 2009
12:47 pm

Nita, I’m with you. However, I have noticed, that these “camps” are geared towards the stay at home moms. The “day camps” run from 9-1:00.

Tina

March 17th, 2009
12:48 pm

I know we are talking about tweens….mine were tweens before they were teens! I said they had things that I expected them to do. My ideals have always been work first, play second. I have been a single mom for over 14 yrs., and totally understand the money thing. I agree with building strong work ethic as your son did walking in the snow (motherjanegoose) —but I even need fun -who doesn’t? If all my kids went back to school in Aug. and all they got to tell about their summer was doing chores, I’d feel terrible! (so much for child labor laws!) lol!

Mitzymy

March 17th, 2009
12:54 pm

When I was growing up we lived in Arkansas, and worked on farms after we moved to town. On our farm, we had chores to do, and with me being the only girl in a family of 4 sons, I had to do the same things that my brothers did. I had to chop wood, keep the stove cleaned of ashes, and start the fire in the heating stove. I helped mother hang the clothes out on the line, and bring them in. She cooked and did the dishes, but everything else, the family did. Sunday was the only time that we had no chores, but we were in church from 9am to around 11pm. We were always glad to get back to school in the fall, at least we could rest during the day!!

new mom

March 17th, 2009
1:03 pm

I don’t have a lot of personal experience to relate to this question (no tweens here, and my mom was a sahm too) but as far as the chores go, I think there needs to be balance. I remember having PLENTY of work to do around the house–pretty much whatever my mom was doing, there was work for me to do to. One spring break I spent the week helping my parents install a sprinkler system, shoveling dirt back into trenches, while my friends were at the beach. (I still like to bring that one up!)

But, I also had plenty of fun too…after my chores were done. I spent half my life at the pool, at swim practice or meets or just playing. I think that helped my learn that I had to be responsible to people other than my parents–my coaches and teammates were depending on me. Plus there was always time to read and write and draw…

I guess all I’m saying is that there needs to be some of each: chores, definitely. Fun, definitely! Independent play/exploration, definitely! :)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 17th, 2009
1:04 pm

Hey Kat — thanks for catching — the baby was up and down crying last night while I was trying to write. I didn’t edit my work well. Thank you!

I think the big question is: How old do they have to be to leave them at home alone during a whole day??

jmb

March 17th, 2009
1:09 pm

new mom

March 17th, 2009
1:15 pm

How old? Well I really think that depends on the child (yes, that’s a cop-out answer) I was babysitting my own sister and other kids as young starting at age 10, by myself…being an older sister, I was born with the responsible gene. Now I know some kids (my husband’s cousin, for example, who is 19) who can not be left alone. Not mature, and was never taught to be self-sufficient.

If I were dealing with this, I think I would try to gradually have my tween be home alone for short time frames and see how they handle it. Going from never being home alone to being home alone all day would be a shock to some, who knows if the house would be standing when you return!

new mom

March 17th, 2009
1:20 pm

jmb–I loved that! thanks!

KoolAid House

March 17th, 2009
1:24 pm

Good afternoon everyone. I believe in Georgia, a “latch-key” child starts at the age of 10. That’s a couple of hours home alone after school. When school is out for the summer, I think its fine for a 14 year old to be left home alone w/a list of chores.

KoolAid House

March 17th, 2009
1:36 pm

Along w/the chores, they’re to spend quality time with their parents on the weekend. I have a 14 year old daughter and other than Young Life Camp for, I believe a week, I’m not sure what to do with her either. They need to do chores, need to be able to sleep in, yet need some fun time…IT’S SUMMER!

Becky

March 17th, 2009
1:36 pm

I was babysitting my nephew at the age of 7 & I was home alone, so I’m with new mom on this in that it depends on the child..Of course now days I would be scared to death to leave a child that age home alone..Of course when I wasn’t babyitting him, I had my younger brother & we would push the lawn mower up & down the road knocking on doors, asking if we could cut their grass..

Yes, I think they should have certain chores to do during the day while you are at work…When my nieces lived with me, at 14 & 16 they had a list of things that needed to be completed before I got home or they couldn’t do what they wanted to do..Granted, it was easier to get the 16 year old to do her list than the 14 year old..

jmb

March 17th, 2009
1:38 pm

Thank you new mom, I often think about this poem when reading this column and finally found it online to cut & paste. Kinda brings back memories as well as reminding us to relax a little while raising our kids.

lovelyliz

March 17th, 2009
1:46 pm

My sister is lucky. Her daughter turns 13 this summer and has a grandfather with a swimming pool who lives in the area. On days when he can’t do it, we my niece stays at home with a friendly but dangerous looking dog and we can just make it home during the lunch hour to make sure everything is okay.

KoolAid House

March 17th, 2009
1:51 pm

Let’s try this again. Along w/chores, make sure the kids spend quality time w/their parents on the weekends. To sleep in late, scratch and belch in your own home (come on, this is what kids are good at :lol: ), do chores, stay on computer and listen to music sounds like paradise. Summertime is a child’s fun time, yet it should be a time when quality time is spent w/the family. Don’t give the children too much “alone” time.

new mom

March 17th, 2009
2:15 pm

OK, here’s a trivia question:

What broadway actor starred in both a Disney movie and a TV police series? Extra credit for naming the movie & TV show.
Even more points for naming the characters he played in each!

Alicia

March 17th, 2009
2:16 pm

Both of my children attend acting camp at the Alliance Theater. They love going and they learn a lot while they are there. They are both going to a 2 week musical theater camp this summer and neither of them can stop talking about it! Plus, this gives them an opportunity to work on something they enjoy and gives them the edge they need when trying to get parts in plays. The staff and teachers there are great!

Alicia

March 17th, 2009
2:17 pm

Yes, my children also have chores to do during the summer!

JJ

March 17th, 2009
3:08 pm

Did anyone get yesterday’s trivia question? I guess McDonalds……

new mom

March 17th, 2009
3:23 pm

Nope, yesterday’s was wendy’s. Good guess though, JJ!

No guesses yet on today’s question? I’ll be gone for a couple of hours, so I’ll just check back in later and see if anyone guessed today’s ;)

lakerat

March 17th, 2009
3:30 pm

JJ – yesterday’s was Wendy’s; today’s is James McArthur as Dano in Hawaii Five-O and one of the Swiss Family Robinson kids.

OT - Trivia

March 17th, 2009
3:41 pm

I’d be interested to see the source for the Wendy’s answer. In-N-Out claims they opened the first drive through in 1948.

http://www.wisegeek.com/when-was-the-first-drive-thru-restaurant-created.htm

Jack in the box opened in 1951 using a call box and drive through window.

http://www.helium.com/items/1114923-the-history-of-fast-food-chain-jack-in-the-box

Dave Thomas didn’t open his first Wendy’s until 1969.

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/10328

motherjanegoose

March 17th, 2009
3:41 pm

newmom…you are on you own with this one…I am awful at TV and movie trivia because I rarely watch TV or do the movie thing. I will wait to see the answer.

I am wondering what kind of money folks are shelling out to send their kids to camp?
What does it cost to go to acting camp?

My daughter goes to church camp and that is about $275 for five days.
We will go to the beach twice at $600 per week for the condo rental and I prefer to spend that on the entire family than shipping a kid off for $600 each. I am very frugal and find all sorts of deals.

Remember when I pondered taking friends with us on vacation and wondered how to handle the expenses? I thought that if I provided the transportation and lodging plus all in house meals…the guests could pitch in for their own meals. I was poo pooed. Most told me that if I invited kids, I should pay their way. How many are taking along extra children ( for free) in today’s economy?

I am thinking that if you sent your child on vacation with friends and chipped in $15-$20 per day, that would be a bargain compared to sending them away to camp on their own. Maybe some of you could swap out with friends???? I am in my own orbit here because I work my fanny off during the school year so that I can have the summers off and also $$$ to do things. I feel for single parents. Some parents do not have a choice about the amount of alone time if they are working!

motherjanegoose

March 17th, 2009
3:43 pm

Clarify…THE GUESTS PITCH IN FOR THEIR OWN MEALS WHEN WE GO OUT TO EAT A FEW TIMES PER WEEK….sorry!

Kat

March 17th, 2009
3:51 pm

Sorry Theresa, I work as a proofreader. It’s a compulsion!

Becky

March 17th, 2009
4:49 pm

Thank you OT-Trivia..I thought that was the answer also..I thought that I had heard it on DD & D’s…Wasn’t reall sure though..

HB

March 17th, 2009
5:11 pm

First the trivia — Jerry Orbach, Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast and Lenny in Law & Order

Second — I really feel for this mom and kid. This one’s tough, and chores won’t solve the problem. I mean we’re talking about likely 8-9 hours home alone every day for 9 weeks. That a lot of chores! Not to mention, busy or not, it’s bound to get lonely. How many of you who work full-time are isolated like that most days with no coworkers to talk to and nowhere to even get out get some lunch for a change of scenery? It sounds like the family lives in a place where the kid can’t walk to entertainment or possibly even friends’ houses. My cousins and I were on our own a lot as kids, but we lived near each other, and could walk to each other’s houses and by the time we were 14 to a not to far-off mall. The summer I was 14, I had a full-time mother’s helper job that I really enjoyed. Maybe this mom could find arrange a sort of unpaid “internship” near her work for a few of the weeks where he could learn a bit and get out of the house. Even if it wasn’t all-day, maybe it would put him in a location where he could get out and have some fun for part of the day. He also may be old enough to volunteer as a jr counselor at day camps for younger kids.

JJ

March 17th, 2009
5:13 pm

MotherJane, I’ve taken kids on trips with us NUMEROUS times. I just tell them, (or their parents), point blank, Please bring/send some spending money with your child. (They also know I am a single parent). I usually take care of the lodging, food, transportation, sights, etc, but they need to have money for souveniers (sp) and touristy stuff. My daughter has brought a friend on just about every trip we have been on.

One time, we went up to Helen and spent the night, and the girl that came with us brought a whole jar of change, I would guess to be around $25.00. Her parents told her if she wanted to go, she had to take her own money. I thought that was pretty funny. Every time we stopped to shop, this girl would grab her jar. I finally told her, I’ll buy you the stuff, and you can pay me back with the change. Later that night, in the hotel room, I taught them how to play “21″ and we used her change. (Yes I taught them to gamble). We had so much fun that trip. I believe it was my daughter’s 14th birthday.

FCM

March 17th, 2009
5:22 pm

What broadway actor starred in both a Disney movie and a TV police series? Extra credit for naming the movie & TV show.

Fitz on Swiss Family Robinson and then on Hawaii 5-0 he also did Treasure Island and Kidnapped. James McArthur—No I did not imdb that either.

I thought Jim was a total hottie and loved the SFR when he was working without his shirt.

FCM

March 17th, 2009
5:23 pm

awwww man lakerat beat me to it…..Jim is still HOT

new mom

March 17th, 2009
6:17 pm

OK, you guys are too smart–I was going for Jerry Orbach (so officially HB gets all the points, 1,263 total!) but honorable mention to lakerat and FCM for the other guy whom I’m embarrassed to have never heard of. I most certainly will not say those shows were before my time, that would not be nice! Now, was he on broadway too? Cause if not, he doesn’t count! :)

As far as the drive thru question, it was actually from one of the trivia nights we attended a few weeks ago, and I had remembered hearing it was Wendy’s from another foodtv show. Apparently theirs was the first ‘modern-day’ drive thru (whatever that means) so it may be a ‘depends on who you ask’ answer! So I’ll give everyone points for the other answers (except Mcdonalds, JJ, sorry!)

Anyone have a question ready for tomorrow?

new mom

March 17th, 2009
6:21 pm

OK, I’ve done some research, and James McArthur was on broadway too! So lakerat and FCM, you each get 398 points.

(Seriously, what were the chances that there were TWO broadway actors who were in both a Disney movie and a TV crime show? Who would have thought it?)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 17th, 2009
6:29 pm

Hey Guys — I’ve added some new links and categories to our Blog Roll on the side of the page. Please check out the link under School News — It looks like the school nurses will be saved. I will link up the full news story as soon as capitol reporter James Salzer posts it!

Also please note the story on a possible therapy to help peanut allergies!

[...] Original post: What do working parents do with older kids during the summer … [...]

ZachsMom

March 17th, 2009
8:08 pm

Thanks for all of the suggestions that everyone sent in to my question. We currently liven in Habersham county and after haveing living the last 20 years in Gwinnett, I can say that there is not a lot to do out here in the beautiful mountains for 14 year old boys to do while his mom works.

I like the working at camp but he is not responsible enough to take care of him self…much less others.

I was thinking of hiring a High School senior ( a MANNY a friend called him ) to go to the pool, play golf with.

Has anyone ever tried that?

new mom

March 17th, 2009
9:36 pm

Hi Zach’s mom,

I don’t have a 14 yr old yet, but having worked with teenagers for years, I might suggest that a great way for him to learn that responsibility is to find a place where he’s ‘forced’ to be responsible. Are you involved in a church, or have one nearby, where he could work with other youth over the summer? Perhaps he could volunteer working with some older elementary kids, maybe 4th-6th graders, in their VBS or camp? Maybe he’s not ready to be in charge, but if he’s in a position to help, it could foster some responsibilty. And a church program can usually place kids in age-appropriate positions, and not let them get over their heads. Another idea could be a local YMCA, where he might be able to help out.

And…I don’t know of anyone who has hired a ‘manny’, but I did read the book called ‘the manny’ a couple of years ago. It was a fun summer read ;)

new mom

March 17th, 2009
9:48 pm

I forgot to suggest, regarding the logistics (since you work full-time) that if he’s involved in a program that enlists many kids his age, there might be other kids’ parents or leaders who could transport him back and forth, possibly even pick him up and take him home. (I used to help with this in a previous church) Especially if they are receiving his help in a camp, they might be happy to help him get there. (I’d probably want to get to know those who drive him around, but at our current church, you can’t work in any program involving kids of any age without extensive background checks)

I hope these ideas help. Good luck!

fk

March 18th, 2009
2:53 am

Sleepless night. My son was on his own since the summer he was 14. He mowed (and still does two) neighbor’s yards. It was a way for him to earn $$ and learn responsibility. Some days, he was tired at the end of the day, but still had time (and money) to have fun with friends. And, on the days that he did not have “a job”, he did stuff around the house. He also had football and wrestling workouts and we had to juggle the transportation. Luckily, there were parents willing to drop him off afterwards. Before I returned to work, there were many times I picked up and dropped off kids whose parents were working.

The sentiment at home was that if Mom & Dad were out working, he could pitch in around the house. He does his own laundry, and has done so since he was 12. He cleans his own bathroom, his bedroom and the gameroom. He uses them, he cleans them. One night per week, he is responsible for dinner. The lesson he learned was to keep busy and stay out of trouble, otherwise, additions were put on his list. The one thing he wanted to avoid was hard manual labor and weeding. Kids don’t learn responsibility and time management if the lesson is never taught.

FCM

March 19th, 2009
5:22 pm

Apparently Robby Benson (voice of Beast) was also on a cop on a show Det. Cliff Brady (unknown episodes)and on broadway. Donny Osmond is in College Road Trip, singing voice of Sheng (Mulan) and on broadway but I doubt he did a cop stint

Justmy2cents

March 27th, 2009
10:16 am

Be careful to stay within the guidelines of the law “Between the ages of 9 and 12, you can leave a child alone for up to two hours. Age 12 and up, no more than 12 hours at a time.” 9-12 counts as tween, but they are not allowed to be home alone more than TWO hours, and definitely not old enough to supervise younger children. I agree summer camps are expensive. I have a babysitter with reasonable rates that I drop my girls (6 & 10) off with every morning. She has children the same ages as mine, so they have somebody to play with, and she also takes them on little “field trips”. You can always try and find out if any of the teachers take on kids during the summer for some extra cash!

Erin Carpenter

April 21st, 2009
11:09 am

Check with your local YMCA, mine has a program that trains your kids to be a camp counselor. This way my son doesn’t feel like he is being “baby-sat” but he gets to do all the fun summer camp activities, added to this is that it will look good on a resume especially if he wants to become a full camp counselor when he is old enough. Good Luck!

Mom_uv_4

June 29th, 2010
7:34 pm

I have four kids: 5, 6, 8, and 10 (two of each). I am a teacher so I am lucky enough to be at home with them during the summer. I still found the money (my tax refund) to pay for a summer camp that is 5 weeks long from 8 – 12 Mon – Fri. It was expensive though – $300 per kid. I think the kids need to get out and play, spend some time in the sun, and be around other kids. When they are home from 12 until bedtime (still a lot of unstructured hours), I have to keep them occupied.

We go the library every Monday. They each have age appropriate chores (two daily chores: one assigned for the week and they grab one additional chore out of a bunch of cards I have made up). They are all responsible for making their own bed and keeping their rooms clean.

My kids love to play on their Nintendo DS(s), watching TV, playing in the pool, and playing on the computer. In order to do any of these things in the afternoon, they have to do some school work for it. I know that if they don’t read over the summer, their reading levels drop and if they never practice doing math, then they forget what they learned and start the year with a deficit. Therefore, each kid (even my 5 year-old) reads for thirty minutes each day and then tells me about what they read. They also do a math page or two and a reading page with questions to answer. These things really don’t take them that long and sometimes they actually enjoy doing them. They know the rules and generally come into the room asking to do work so that they can go in the pool or watch TV or whatever. If they don’t feel like doing the work, that is their choice, but they don’t get to do any of the four covetted activities. Usually once one kid starts doing work, then all others follow suit. Peer pressure can be a fantastic thing!

Some of the chores I assign to my kids include: vacuuming, sweeping, dusting (my five year-old dusts the windowsills and blinds), using the hand vac to vacuum the car, windexing the car windows or the patio windows where the dogs scratch, feeding the dogs, swiffer sweeping the kitchen/laundry room, washing out the bathroom sinks, scrubbing the tub they use, wiping down the dining room table and kitchen counters after each meal, setting the table, putting the dog toys away, using Comet on the kitchen sink, getting all the trash out of the car, taking the trash and recycling outside and to the curb, using the hand vac on the couch (dog hair – yuck!), sweeping the entryway (lots of leaves just outside the front door). They don’t do it all in one day and there are four of them to divide things up by. I usually have to help out my five and six year old, but the older two can do things on their own. It’s great; the house stays clean and the kids stay busy. Two chores per day is all I ask. They have lots of time to have fun and play and we keep our house in tip-top shape. Everyone is responsible and the kids argue just a little less, because they have enough to do to fill their time.

I know I don’t have tweens just yet, but within a year or two I will. I am training them now for that time. Then I can run off and do a few errands while they do the things around the house that they need to. They will still have time to play and enjoy themselves and the structure of it all will already be in place. Being able to leave them in the house for an hour or two a day starts to build some independence and responsibility – obviously I wouldn’t leave the little ones, but in a couple of years I can leave the older two.

By the way, I also plan camping trips and trips to visit my parents at their cabin during the summer. We all stay mighty busy!!!

And for those single moms out there…I, too, am a single mom (by choice – I adopted my four kids). I am doing it all with a single parent salary – but I do have summers off. I am a lucky mom and all is working out well.