The first weeks of summer have been hard. The first weeks of quarantine in March were difficult as we figured out new routines for remote school and work. Then we got into our routines and April and May went pretty well. And while schoolwork didn’t take up much of their day, at least they had a couple hours each day with something to do. Now they literally have nothing to do every day.
Hannah sleeps in even more than she did before and then binge-watches Netflix and TikTok, Caroline spends hours playing online video games and watching TV. I’m pretty sure I can see knowledge oozing out of their ears as their brains turn to mush.
Normally I’m a big fan of unstructured time during summer vacation. When Hannah was young we over-scheduled her for camps and activities and she didn’t really get a break during the summer. But we learned from that and the past summers we’ve planned weeks where they have no camps and it has worked well to give them some down-time. Getting bored during summer vacation is (normally) a good thing.
But this year is different. There are no weeks of camp to look forward to. There is no pool to go swimming in. While we do allow them to go bike riding (with masks) or play in a friend’s yard, we don’t allow them to go into a friend’s house. That worked fine when the weather was nice but daily rain storms this week have made it a lot harder to make plans with friends. And so they have spent way too many hours at home with nothing to do.
They do fill their time with board games, walking the dog, building forts, and other activities around the house and yard, but way too much of their time involves screens and devices. Jeanne and I are both working from home and while we take breaks and shift our schedules to be around with the kids, it’s inevitable that they will have many hours a day to occupy themselves. I’m still holding out hope that in the coming weeks they will get so bored that they start being creative with their time (boredom can lead to creativity), but it might take more guidance than they are currently getting.
We’ll see how things change in the coming weeks, but for now our summer routines may not get us through the summer.
Things that went well this week:
- Cases in Massachusetts are trending down in meaningful ways and the state continues its reopening plans
- Hannah installed glowing LED lights in her room; they look great in a very teenagery way
- The Black Lives Matter movement has continued to be a major topic, hopefully the attention will continue indefinitely
- We’re going away for the 4th of July weekend to New Hampshire; we’re apprehensive about staying in a hotel but the risk is low and we really want to get away
Things that did not go well:
- Worldwide cases topped 10 million and deaths are over 500,000; the US has 5% of the world’s population but has 25% of its COVID cases
- The rainy days this week were difficult because our typical outdoor activities were reduced
- I realized that I’m probably not playing soccer again this year
- No word from the schools about plans for the fall yet
Random happy find from the web:
The traditional Boston Pops 4th of July show will be a lot different this year, but will still be broadcast. Instead of crowds and fireworks by the Charles River, it will be a virtual event:
‘A Boston Pops Salute to Our Heroes’ will honor front-line workers and acknowledge the fight against racism
Cute puppy photo of the day: