I had a couple of conversations Monday that brought up some situations that I would handle differently than the people I was talking to. This got me thinking about how other families would approach these situations. So let’s discuss them. Of course there is no right or wrong answers, unless of course you disagree with me. I which case you are wrong. Let us discuss:
We all know that having our kids home for summer break brings along with it the bottomless pits that are their stomachs. My kids are constantly wanting snacks. Our day usually goes something like this: Breakfast, Snack, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Snack, Dinner, Snack, Snack. I really try to keep lots of fruit washed, sliced and in a bowl ready to eat, but we also have those quick convenient snacks like granola bars, fruit snacks, gold fish and crackers in the pantry and popsicles in the freezer.
My kids are still at the age where they will usually ask before having a snack, but the person I was talking to today was so frustrated with her 11 year old son who was constantly helping himself to the “good” snacks in the pantry and devouring everything in site, out of boredom, with no regard to the others in the family. The mom was ready to put all the “good snacks” in a locked cupboard, so that they were only accessible with permission. That is just a terrible idea for the fact that she would have to get up from blogging and unlock the snacks every time……….uggghhh, we all have much better things to do. Really.
I suggested that she instead divide up the fruit snacks, granola bars and other desirable snacks into gallon size ziplocks or shoe boxes for each of her children. Giving them access to their entire allotted snacks for whatever period she had grocery shopped for. That way each child would get the same amount of each snack in their bag and were allowed to eat them at their will. When they were gone, they were gone until the next grocery shopping trip.
Both this particular 11 year old and my eight year old would be the children that would devour their entire snack allotment with out discernment for how long they would have to go without. At which point they would begin to finagle, manipulate or coerce their younger sibling for the snacks that the younger ones have prudently rationed. I, of course, would have prepared the younger sibling with a lesson in the free enterprise system that makes America so great and that younger sibling would have in place either a monetary value or chore value to their snacks unless they were feeling especially generous that day.
So how do you handle the incessant munching session that is summer break?
We belong to a gym that has some wonderful amenities (remember my love affair with the Supervised Play Room). One of them being a beautiful outdoor swimming pool with a diving board and large twisty water slide.
I LOVE to spend time outside by the pool on the hot summer days, but only on the HOT summer days. However, my 8 year old has no reservations about swimming on ANY day that the pool is open. Last summer I started allowing him the privilege of choosing to swim WHILE I work out. Yes folks, he is outside in the swimming pool WHILE I am inside on the treadmill. Fear not, as I am a stringent rule follower, and we are in compliance with the rules of the gym, which are clearly posted and state: “Children 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult.”
Six and under. He is neither six nor under. No rules broken. Besides, he is a good swimmer and there is always two or three lifeguards on duty during open swim hours.
So today I run into an acquaintance as I am leaving Ben in the pool area and headed to the treadmill. We make small talk for a bit and then she asked the where abouts of Ben, as she had just dropped her eight year old son off in the Supervised Play Room. I told her that he was out swimming while I worked out. To which she responded “Are you serious? Doesn’t that seem a little unsafe to just leave him out there unsupervised while you work out?”
To which I replied “No, I am perfectly okay with it.”
However, if I were a little quicker thinking I would have replied “Oh yes, it seems terribly unsafe. That is why I do it. I mean he is kind of a pain in the butt some days, he eats alot of food, costs lots of money to clothe, and antagonizes his little brother to the point of much frustration. I just haven’t been able to get rid of him any other way. Oh and don’t trip over your “Mother of the Year” cloak.”
How would you have responded?