Looking for summer activities for big kids? Try letting them be parent for a day.
Last week, when I was contemplating the need to spend the day at the library, I was also ruminating on what to do with Parker. He's plenty old enough (and responsible enough) to stay home by himself for the day, but my schedule was flexible, so I opted to choose a day when the girls weren't working.
I knew once I announced that I'd be gone for the day there would be some unhappiness (enacted by complaining). Everyone sure likes it when I'm home to facilitate their meals and entertainment and to drive them places. I considered just laying down the law (a favorite parenting technique of mine), in which I would gruffly explain that work is necessary, and disappointment is part of life. The end.
But in the end I opted for the Tom Sawyer/positive approach, which meant talking about how much FUN they could have, and how Maddie could be MOM FOR A DAY, and how I would leave money for an outing, and they could take pictures. YIPPEE!!!
They were totally fine with the fun option, and I was interested to see what they would make of their day.
The report goes that they met in Becca's room to formulate a plan. They easily agreed they'd spend their outing money on lunch and settled on Pei Wei. Apparently, some difficulty ensued when Maddie tried to locate her wallet just previous to walking out the door. After a good deal of seaching and hand-wringing and calling about, Maddie realized she'd left her wallet on top of the gas pump the evening before. And lucky for her, a good Samaritan had turned the wallet in -- money and all.
See? It was just like my real day as a real mom.
After lunch, they decided to pick up a movie at Red Box and get junky snacks (since I wasn't home and they still had money left). They grabbed up Hotel Transylvania and a giant bag of peanut M&Ms.
Reportedly, everything went swimmingly until after the movie, when Becca and Parker started rough-housing and being loud. Maddie's take-away was that while everyone was occupied there was peace and harmony, but once the activity was over . . . the situation went quickly downhill and became (in her words) ANNOYING.
To which I say -- I'VE BEEN THERE.
Many thanks to Madison for her sterling cooperation.