Yes, it was day one of the Easter holidays and already I had heard that dreaded word, ‘BORED’. It was very tempting to snap back, ‘Well I’m NOT, I have a hundred things I HAVE to do, a hundred I really SHOULD do and a short little list of things I would really LIKE to do and have no time for!’
Of course I didn’t, I bit my tongue (rather than holding it which would have caused a major strop and probably a little door slamming for my stupidity), took a breath and offered a long list of entertaining ideas all of which received a shrug, a ‘Mu-um’ or That Face. I have a teenager in the house.
It is problematic. I have a wide age range to deal with and what suits a 4-year-old is unlikely to suit a nearly 14-year-old. Swimming is the obvious choice as we can all go together but, rather selfishly, I do not want to spend two weeks in the local pool poggling about with said 4-year-old until my skin becomes prune like and I die from hypothermia.
Taking 4 kids anywhere where there is a monetary cost is a scary experience and one which it takes my wallet a month to recover from so we will have to make our own entertainment on a budget! Luckily my lot do enjoy long muddy walks so we will fit in a few of those. Bonus Boy is very happy filling a ‘Treasure Box’ with finds from beach or woodland.
We had a trip to Lulworth Cove recently which they are keen to repeat (we went for Mothering Sunday and I think part of the reason they would like to go back is that I indulged in a picnic of magnificent proportions because eating makes me very happy). The cove itself is gorgeous, a tropical paradise an hour and a half’s drive away; admittedly not a warm tropical paradise but beautiful nevertheless!
It had the added bonus that we were rewarded for an energetic cliff walk with the strange lunar landscape of the Fossil Forest. All that is left of a forest from millions of years ago are these funny looking donut rings which are the remains of algae which grew around the base of a tree as the forest floor flooded. They also make a great place to sit, like great thrones on the moon!
So, days out as a family still work and weather permitting that is what we will do…run them until they are exhausted!
He will also still join in with a little bit of family making and doing, albeit to help the others rather than producing something of his own. I will be getting him to help his smallest brother make an Easter basket to collect eggs in, (Easter egg hunts are, perhaps not surprisingly, still successful. Anything involving food appeals to large boys as much as to small ones!) a Yellow Moon windmill and various Easter decorations and there will be a lot of baking which he is very good at.
Perhaps, most importantly of all, I will allow him to be bored. I will not try to fill his every waking moment with stimulating activities. I will ignore the ‘Mu-um’ and send him on his way with a ‘Find something to do then.’ I think it is an important life lesson to learn how to be comfortable in your own space, to know what to do with yourself when there is nothing to do and to be self-reliant. He is, actually, very good at that. He loves reading and making music, he likes the latest games gadgets and the computer and if I leave him to it he is happy without any input from me for hours on end.
Sometimes it is good to leave them alone to get on with it. Perhaps the hardest mothering lesson of them all!
Any ideas for entertaining teens to tots will be gratefully received. At the end of the holiday I will post what we got up to. (And if we have survivied!)
If you feel like nominating this blog or any others which you enjoy do click on the MADS badge over there in my sidebar. I have already, much to my surprise, been nominated as Best New Blog and Best Family Blog so if that was YOU, thank you!