Kids want more free time, fewer activities

Filed under: Work Life, Activities: Babies, Places To Go, Health & Safety: Babies, Development/Milestones: Babies, That's Entertainment

Thanks, Alan, for this tip. This article didn't make me feel guilty at all. Not one iota. In this article, writer Virginia Anderson points to a survey done by KidsHealth, a division of the Nemours Foundation, a nonprofit organization that studies children's health issues. According to this survey, kids are growing weary of all of their activities. Kids are reporting that they are exhausted and stressed out. A full three-fourths of the kids surveyed said they long for more free time. Wow.

Why doesn't this article make me feel guilty? Because I spend 99% of my time feeling guilty that my kids are NOT involved in more activities. But do you know what I have to do today with my kids? Nothing. Nope. We have been out of town, so we are not back into swim lessons or swim team yet. And this summer, we opted not to devote our lives to the baseball fields. The kids are not playing tennis, and they are not in music lessons or any other enrichment activities. And here I thought I was just the laziest mother on the planet.

But this is the first summer that my kids have not had to go to summer school so I could afford to work at my office job (because I work at home on my couch now), and I just wanted to let them have a summer like the summers I had when I was a kid.


When I was a kid, we had swimming lessons, but that was it. I remember long summer days playing outside with other kids in the neighborhood, and riding my bike. I remember dressing up in my mother's pantyhose to pretend that I was Wonder Woman. Or I Dream of Jeannie. Or Samantha from Bewitched. Or a Charlie's Angel. I suppose it could also be said that I also watched a fair bit of television in those days.

But whether or not it was because I had long stretches of time left to my imagination and a few dress up clothes, I went on to major in creative writing. I have invented my own career, and my days and my life are still largely self-directed.

I am also incredibly jealous of my family time. I love just hanging out around the house, lingering over a summer meal that has been cooked on a grill, and then walking uptown with the kids to get ice cream. This is the first summer my kids haven't had to be in summer school or day care, and the first summer we haven't been involved in baseball, which takes over the planet. Are my kids watching too much television? Probably. But they are also playing with their friends in the neighborhood, and spending five hours at the pool at a stretch, and riding their bikes and reading and just hanging out.

What things from your past and present have contributed to what activities your kids are involved in? What do you think?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.