Let me start off my saying, there was not a single person that I knew growing up who had to go to daycare over the summer. No one went to camp after camp after camp because there was no one to watch them. Kids were home and played. No one sat in the house watching TV or, if you were lucky enough to own one, playing Atari. Most of the time, you had friends over to play, but sometimes you just had to entertain yourself. Yes, people's parents worked, but grandparents came and watched the kids. By watched, I mean they were warm bodies in the house in case of emergencies and snack makers for neighborhood kids. In no way were grandparents in charge of entertaining you. If, for some reason, you had to go to your grandparents' instead of them coming to you, you took a minimum of one friend with you. Summers were waking up late, having no plans, calling your friends to go hang out or just showing up at someone's house to see if they were home. There was no making plans weeks in advance with friends to plan time to get together. If your friends were home, you played with them. If they weren't, you didn't. It really was that simple. This is coming from the viewpoint of an only child. I didn't have built in playmates with siblings. It was just me. I didn't sit around all day asking my mom to play with me or give me ideas of what to do. Of course there were times we did special stuff, but it was spur of the moment. I had to run errands with my mom, as did my friends, but, heck, sometimes your friends ran the errands with your parents. No one complained. No one begged for stuff at the store. No one expected anything. It was just a part of life as a kid.
I know times have changed. I know first hand that family support isn't there like it used to be. I understand kids have different interests. But, really, kids haven't changed that much; parenting has changed. There are so many parents who are trying to fill every moment of their children's days. It's crazy. People keep thinking we're so busy, but in all honesty, we're not. My kids are having as close to a 1980's summer as they can in 2017. My kids did a total of 2 camps each. One was right at the beginning of summer that they both attended all day. The other camp they did, they didn't do together, but it was only an hour and a half a day for 3 days, each. And that was it. We still had karate and baseball, but that's nighttime stuff where we wouldn't be doing anything other than hanging out at home anyway. Yet, there are people who didn't give their kids even a minute to be kids. For how "busy" everyone thinks we were, my kids woke up at 9:00 or later every morning. Every day it was nice, my kids played in the pool almost all afternoon. My kids rode their bikes (or, after the arm breaking incident, walked) to their friends' houses.....without knowing if their friends would be home or able to play. Their friends did the same. I think there was twice that someone came over and my kids couldn't play because they weren't home. Those are pretty fair odds. Today is a great example of a typical summer day here. Kids woke up whenever. After they ate breakfast, they played Legos. We walked both dogs. Monster played ball with Little Dog. We did a little laundry (and I really mean we as the kids folded). We had lunch, which the kids fix for themselves every day in the summer. The kids read for a bit. Then they got in the pool. That was at 1:15. They didn't get out of the pool until 5:15. There was no fighting. Both kids were having a great time. This is a typical summer day. Isn't that how it should be? After the kids got out of the pool and showered, we had dinner. Kids had ice cream on the porch after. Then we took a walk down to a friend's house and then around the block with Little Dog. We watered the garden and everyone got ready for bed, even though there was an hour until bedtime. Kids colored, drew and read. They were kids. I was not having them practice musical instruments. They were not working on skills for a sport. They weren't doing vocabulary building to increase their skills for the coming year. They weren't mind numbingly watching television or YouTube. They were being kids.