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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

"I'm bored" isn't always so bad



"Downtime is when we become ourselves, looking into the middle distance, kicking at the curb, lying on the grass or sitting on the stoop staring at the tedious blue of the summer sky. I don't believe you can write poetry, or compose music, or become an actor without downtime and plenty of it. A hiatus that passes for boredom is really the quiet moving of wheels inside that fuels creativity." -- Anna Quindlen

These are some of the best words ever written by my favorite columnist, Anna Quindlen, who now writes for "Newsweek." As a mother who has worked part-time until recently, I have the luxury of not having to put my kids in camp or day care throughout the summer. And until this summer, when the two oldest went off to sleep-away camp in N.C. for four weeks, they have never been to more than two weeks of day camp.  My 5-year-old son took in one day of gymnastics camp last summer and that's been it for him so far.

I know many parents who don't work at all or who have nannies still choose to sign their kids up for a different camp each week. Yes, it's great to expose them to the art or pioneer life or sports they can't do during school. But children also need to be exposed to long days of nothing on the calendar that they also don't have during the school year.

And so what if they get bored? That's when they make Mom_childnapping_2 forts out of blankets and umbrellas, stack shoe boxes then knock them down with a ball or make potions of grass, mulch, food coloring and apple juice. It's when older kids finally write in their journal or draw a picture of life on an undiscovered planet. (Here are some more ideas for those "I'm bored" days). Or they just lie on their bed bored and then take a wonderful afternoon nap for the first time in seven years.

In this age of over-crowded school days -- that's only about a week away for most kids -- and weekends, why do parents feel the need to schedule every minute of a child's summer, too?

-- Katherine Snow Smith, Go Momma

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:56am]


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