School is almost out, which means the big kids will be home ALL day EVERY day.   What’s 8 kids when you usually have 6, you ask?  It’s only TWO more, right?  

The problem is they’re BIG kids.

And BIG kids are very different from LITTLE kids.  I’ve learned that little kids “go with the flow”.  They are relatively easy to entertain and they are eager to please, eager to learn, eager to try new things.  I don’t get complaints about what we’re eating for snack or lunch, 99% of the time, 99% of them like what I serve.  Unless they are super tired or feeling sick, they are generally happy.  Hardly ever cranky.  They play with each other, they are friends with everyone.  You give ’em a stack of paper and crayons and glue and scissors and they’ll create masterpieces.

BIG kids are different.  They like who they like and they don’t like who they don’t like. They like to eat this, and don’t like to eat that.  They want to be fed when they are hungry…and immediately.  They don’t want to sit at the table for lunch if they aren’t hungry.  They don’t want to sit at the table for lunch, period.  And they’ll voice their dislikes.  They balk at educational activities most of the time.   

It’s a “joke” among us daycare providers.  We should be charging next to nothing for the newborns, and charging double for anyone over the age of FOUR.  How’dya like them apples?  (Sorry fellow providers- I just HAD to share that!)

I need to have a plan. Summer starts THIS WEEK.  I run a pretty tight ship and for the most part our days are fairly routine.  They HAVE to be when I have six kids running around my house!  

The problem is MY kids are going to have Summer Brain.  You know, “I don’t have school anymore!  I can sleep all day!  I can watch TV all day because I don’t have any homework to do!  I can do what I want!  I don’t have to read!  I don’t have to do anything!  It’s all about ME now!” 

The other problem is that during daycare hours, I don’t allow my kids to do some things that I would normally allow (such as watching certain TV shows, most movies, or playing video games).   And there’s no running, fighting, throwing, playing rough, yelling, etc, inside OR out!  No swinging on the swingset if there’s little one’s around.  No big-kid soccer or dodgeball if the little ones are outside.  So in the mind of anyone over the age of 7, that translates to INSTANTANEOUS BOREDOM.  Which turns into a bad attitude and comments like, “You won’t let me do anything FUN.” 

I need to strive to make this summer FUN for my kids, giving them the freedom to live in their own house, yet abide by our daycare rules.  I’m also going to expect them to work and take on some responsibilities. 

We had a family meeting earlier this week to discuss a summer-time routine.  One that gives them the ability to get up and get ready at a leisurely pace, one that gives them time to watch TV, there’s time for chores, time for reading, time to help other kids with workbooks and crafts, time to play, etc.  And I’ve given them all access to Trevor’s room- where they can watch movies and TV, play games, use his desk for art projects, just hang out and be “free”.

I think it will work out well.  I’ll keep you posted!