As a child, I was absolutely convinced we didn’t have enough vacation days. As a parent, I sometimes find myself asking, “Seriously, another day off?! Didn’t you just have a vacation day? What on earth am I going to do with you all?” (And my daughter’s private school touts having significantly more instructional days than the local public schools.)
Don’t get me wrong. I adore my children. That said, I also believe absence makes the heart grow fonder – and it’s hard to feel much absence when you’re together every waking moment. I have found that I enjoy them best after an 8-hour break. (Plus, we’ve already got weekends!) I’m pretty sure they feel the same way about me.
Now, I have a lot of respect for stay-at-home moms who have the patience, ability and creativity to spend all day at home with their kids. The thing with kids is if you don’t have something planned every waking second, then they find ways to entertain themselves. In my house, those things fall into two categories: making a complete mess of the house or watching iPad. With three of them, these two activities can be going on simultaneously. In fact, as I wrote those first three paragraphs, my daughters watched mind-numbing YouTube challenge videos and my son threw everything from the silverware drawer into the kitchen sink after playing with the paste he made by dumping the dog food into the dog water.
I like to think of myself as a creative person, but I lack craft gene. (I’m guessing it is tied to the cooking gene, which I also lack.) In both cases, it’s not so much the actual action that I hate – but the vast amounts of prep/setup and cleanup both involve. My daughter got a pottery wheel for her birthday last year, and 358 days later, it is still in the box, where it will likely live for at least another 358 days – because do you know how messy throwing clay gets? The name says it all. (In that vein, I’m a big Color Me Mine fan – but we have reached our household capacity for rainbow-painted coffee cups, piggybanks and other ceramic bric-a-brac.)
I don’t mind going to the park, but there are only so many times I can save my 4-year-old from the top of the climbing structure – the outside part of it that is not intended for climbing on. And inevitably, one of the two older ones will find someone her age to play with at the park and the other one won’t and she’ll complain she’s bored.
I like reading books, but first it’s a 20-minute debate over which books to read and whose book to read first. By that point, one or all three of them have gotten over the idea of reading a book and moved on to destroying the house/watching iPad.
We don’t live near a Target, so I can’t take them there and roam the aisles, then splurge in the $1 section. [If you have never done this, you are missing out. This post is not sponsored by Target (they don’t even sell our games – yet), I just love them.]
Given that our company develops video games, I am a believer in kids accessing technology. But much to my daughters’ dismay, this does not mean I think they should spend their entire spring break watching watching other kids on YouTube putting disgusting topping combinations on pizza or smelling scented markets blindfolded while guessing the scent. (How do these channels get MILLIONS of subscribers while our 7 Generation Games channel is pushing 200?!)
Of course, we have educational games that my daughters occasionally play. Obviously, 7 Generation Games games are good ones to start with! On average, each of our games take between 6-8 hours for a kid to get through so that will help you fill a few chunks of time in your day. (You can buy an individual license here!) But I’m not advocating they spend 6-8 hours straight in front of the computer.
Since I try to limit my kids’ iPad time to a couple hours a day, that leaves me with a LOT of time to fill – for his part, my baby refuses to be entertained by the screen for more than 5 seconds. (In writing this paragraph, I suddenly realized my baby is quiet – which can only mean he is dumping out all of the contents in my wallet in the other room.)
That leaves us with camp – which as a friend on Facebook wrote costs “two arms and a leg” – and is what my oldest daughter is up to this Spring Break. But it’s a small price to pay for at least one of them not complaining that there’s nothing to do. Seriously, what are all these books/board games/toys scatted all over the place for then? (You know what you’ll never have to pick up off of the floor? 7 Generation Games because they’re digital items! Buy them here.)
My younger one is too young for camp, so she’s splitting her break between hanging out with me (she managed to spill her cup of cocoa three times in the span of 30 minutes today when I brought her into the office) and my nanny with the baby.
“No school is so relaxing,” my 4-year-old told me while sitting in her pajamas at noon.
I cannot say I concurred.
“It feels like I’ve been off for a year,” my 8-year-old said this evening. “OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic – at least like a month.”
I was 100% in agreement on that one.
But Spring Break does serve one really useful purpose – to remind me that I’ve really got to get my act together and find a programs for my girls this summer because if I think one week off is tough, I better be ready for what’s coming my way come June.
(P.S. Speaking of summer programs, 7 Generation Games is working with a number of afterschool and summer programs. If you’re interested in using our games for your summer program or would like to see them used in your kids summer program, all licenses are valid for the entire year – meaning your program can use it for the summer and academic year. Reach out to email@example.com if you want more info.)