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How should parents keep their kids busy while school is out?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on May 11, 2005

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Photo of Alonzo Beardshear

“We used to use the Lawrence Parks and Recreation program, and pool passes are always a good idea. That and a little bit of hard work.”

Photo of Charles Hung

“Spend more time with them.”

Photo of Therese Lawrence

“There are a lot of programs, like Girl Scouts, horse camp and of course summer school.”

Photo of Pam Lang

“I think they should keep them busy with library programs and sports, and they should keep them away from the video games. Have everything structured with time limits on watching TV.”


lovely1 13 years, 1 month ago

We live close to Prairie Park and a few others, so alot of excercise to/from these places and many others will keep my kids busy this summer. I have 2 boys, ages 3 and 7. I'm available to babysit kids this summer. Let me know if ur interested.

Carmenilla 13 years, 1 month ago

You just don't get it, offtotheright. I'm not saying you should give them another chance. I was only hoping that you would not senselessly demonize and stereotype all the children who go there. But it seems impossible for you to be fair or open-minded, doesn't it? I know your experience was bad but there are always going to be a few kids that make it hard for all the others. It is unfair to lump them all together. Thats all!

sunflower_sue 13 years, 1 month ago

Hong Kong, Yes, Sewing! My 10 year old can't wait to dig into those skirt patters and crank out something tangible. (I bet you can't even sew on a button.) And, I believe I also mentioned the pool and a few roller coasters. Didn't mention our month long trip across the US ending up at a beach house on the outer banks of NC for a week but thought that might be too much info.

Carmenilla 13 years, 1 month ago

offtotheright, my child does not stay home with me anymore. And I, at one time, did consider the Boys and Girls Club for her. She had friends that were going and they loved it! But like I said before her school goes year round. No worries!

Carmenilla 13 years, 1 month ago

I won't even go into how that mentality will ruin your life.

Fangorn 13 years, 1 month ago

Reading. Playing with neighborhood friends. Limited television. Being outside when it's nice. Oh, and staying away from the pedophiles.

Can you believe that tragedy in Illinois? How could a father kill his own little girl? Or her friend? Gov. Blagojevich recently placed a moritorium on executions in his state. If this guy killed those girls and is convicted, I hope the ban is lifted, or at least suspended long enough for someone to disembowl this worthless shred of human debris.

Carmenilla 13 years, 1 month ago

I imagine you are raising your child in fear, offtotheright. Ya know, we can't protect them from everything and if we try to they will never know how to deal with the "real world". The "riff-raff" can be unavoidable but to assume that they are everywhere is inane and a good way to give yourself a heartattack. Maybe you should move back to your small minded small town. You will be so much "safer" there....

Richard Heckler 13 years, 1 month ago

Natural History Museum,Prairie Park Nature Center classes, weeding the garden, library,drawing,painting,planting and caring for a small flower bed, music, grocery shopping,hiking around Clinton Lake,purchase a family pass and head out to the Topeka,Kansas City,Cincinnati and St. Louis Zoo's, eat lots of fruits and veggies,the Rocky Mountains, Z Bar Ranch and bicycle a lot.

allisonvisocsky 13 years, 1 month ago

Ok, my two children went to the Boys and Girls club every year for over five years during the summer programs. I have never experienced any problems at all. I know that there may have been some problems in the past. However, Rodger the young gentleman that has been in charge of the program for the past two years, has really turned the center around. The kids are such more well behaved. My children I will admit stayed there until 6:00 p.m., but that was only because my husband and I worked!!! You can not acuse parents of not caring unless you know the facts. Last year as a matter of fact my kids came all the way from Oskaloosa to attend the program and cried when the summer program was over. They are now to old to attend, and they are very sad about that. So, don't knock a program by just a few bad apples, would you much rather these kids to be on the streets committing crimes!!

sunflower_sue 13 years, 1 month ago

I'm trading my friend. She's giving my daughter guitar lessons, I'm giving her daughter art lessons. We will spend lots of time sewing, doing crafts, pool (I'll be there with them, not just dump them off and the community babysitter's water-hole), classes at school, gymnastics, playing w/ friends, and then off to vacation. I'm really excited about spending more time with my kids! They grow so fast...I don't want to miss it!!! Thinking about passes to World's of Fun (we love coasters)

William_Rothgraeger 13 years, 1 month ago

B and G club sounds like a good opportunity for "at-risk" kids to be supervised and around positive influences. I'd send my kid in a heartbeat.

raven 13 years, 1 month ago

B & G club is good for a lot of parents for a lot of reasons. I went there with my brother and sister for years. We didn't have a lot of money so that is where my Mom took us. We may have been poor but we were not "riff-raff".

remember_username 13 years, 1 month ago

A bunch of good ideas from merrill. What is Z Bar Ranch? I would add: find a community service project through church or social services, find a child to tutor through a reading project, and look for volunteer opportunities in your community. If you can't find anything, start one - it's never too early for children to learn to give to their community.

allisonvisocsky 13 years, 1 month ago

Well put William_R and Raven.

My son while there, participated in a program called "Passport to Manhood". This program taught them about being respectful to everyone, including women and not relying on mommy and daddy to pay for everything, taught them about safe choices in their lives. Some of them don't even get this information at home!!! Way to go B & G club!!!

sadtaco1 13 years, 1 month ago

Why not try a little community activity? We can lock all the kids in the basement and set up our own little neighborhood sweat shop. It would be fabulous!

simple_simon 13 years, 1 month ago

Geez! First it was "lonely guy" it's "sadtaco1".......

italianprincess 13 years, 1 month ago

I'm not knocking B and G at all, just had an experience I would rather not have again. He wants to do more constructive things now so I have him involved in more things then just playing all summer.

I know the exec director of the B and G and shes great. I just have planned things for him that he has wanted to do.

Jayhawk226 13 years, 1 month ago

Please teach them to read/write/do math and learn social graces...

...this way a teacher can actually teach the curriculum we are expected to teach, and not have to compensate for "lost time" of skills that were never mastered in the first place. (This is also partly to blame on teachers too!)

Redneckgal 13 years, 1 month ago

How about just giving them some down time?

allisonvisocsky 13 years, 1 month ago

ItalianPrincess, I am sure you weren't knocking B and G at all. It is really fortunate that your son was rescued the way he was, but can't blame this one incident on them not watching him. This could have very well happened when you or anyone else were with him, my son had a similar experience at our local pool when he was the same age with my and my husband right there. You turn for a split second and they are gone.

I say for every parent to just be thankful and take an interest in your kids activities. B & G is only on activity in town, and not a bad place at all for kids to be involved in. You need to just be aware what they are doing, and talk to them about what interests them.

Ceallach 13 years, 1 month ago

Jayhawk266: Thank you for listing "social graces." That subject seems to have fallen by the wayside for many children. Even responsible parents who have taught their children manners often find a relatively short time in school wipes out much of their training. Kids seem to befriend or imitate the children whose parents have not invested in teaching the social graces.

Summer can be a good time to emphasize the importance of good manners, public behavior and grooming skills. Even working parents have more evening time, longer days, extra opportunities to work on projects together or just hang out with their kids.

remember_username 13 years, 1 month ago

"Please teach them to read/write/do math and learn social graces..."

Excellent Jayhawk226. Every parent should take an active roll in his or her children's education. Summer provides time for children to catch up if they are behind in one subject or another. Or they can discover a new subject they have not studied in school and run with it. How about family members get together one or two evenings a week and the whole family start to learn a new language? Ask your children to be responsible for teaching the family - might that be fun?

tell_it_like_it_is 13 years, 1 month ago

Why not teach them how to chill out. Kids don't need to be busy 24/7 despite what some parents think. And then they wonder why their kids are so high strung and hyper. Its because they are used to running 90 miles an hour all day and into the night. My kids will be going to a home daycare this summer where they don't have a zillion things to do. They will play out in the back yard and go swimming and maybe chase down the ice cream man once in a while. And they will zone out in front of the TV once in awhile too! And I picked it on purpose because I want my kids to have a childhood and not be some kind of a little high strung miniture adults.

bleeding_flower 13 years, 1 month ago

Amen tell_it_like_it_is. Don't most of you remember what it was like being a kid. Yes I do think that playing outside and getting excercise is important. That kids shouldn't spend the whole summer in front of the TV. But I don't think you should push them to much. Summer is a time to relax and have fun. It is when you are supposed to empty your head so you can fill it up again next year. They don't need the stress yet. They will learn the real world soon enough. Just let them have their childhood.

sunflower_sue 13 years, 1 month ago

When we were kids we were not BORED to death because Mom/Dad could let us roam free. On the bikes, in the creek, whatever...they didn't have to worry about some sick-o grabbing us. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that "Just chillin'" is even what the kids want! I'm letting my kids plan their summer and, believe me, they didn't say: "Oh, I just want to do nothing and maybe zone out"! Sure, as a parent, that would be a whole lot easier.

Carmenilla 13 years, 1 month ago

We are so lucky. The school my daughter goes to is year round. She will get 2 weeks off in July but otherwise its business as usual. Even better, the students go to the pool 3 times a week with their teachers. They ease up a little on the curriculum (sp?) and do more fun projects during the summer. In fact, they may contribute to a nearby community garden. We also throw in a little Summer Youth Theater courtesy of the Lawrence Arts Center and some horse-back riding to round her summer out. Not too busy though because we like to take weekend trips away. And than there's the drive-in for the whole family to have fun! Yeh, summer!

Not trying to start a fight, but I gotta ask offtotheright, what constitutes as "riff-raff" at the Boys and Girls' Club? I know lots of different kinds of kids go there. But which ones are the "riff-raff"? I have a feeling curiousity is gonna kill this kitty ;-p

remember_username 13 years, 1 month ago

Carmenilla - which school offers year around activities?

Carmenilla 13 years, 1 month ago

She goes to Century school which is a private school. They have enrollment year round. They are also close to downtown and basically across the street from the public pool, fire station, and library. We love it! You can try and get in but I imagine that summer enrollment is already full...

remember_username 13 years, 1 month ago

Actually my child no longer lives at home, I was asking for others and because it sounds great.

tell_it_like_it_is 13 years, 1 month ago

offtotheright..we live near Ottawa so she lives there in town.

Carmenilla 13 years, 1 month ago

I can understand that, offtotheright. But the thing is I have had friends send their kids to the Boys and Girls' Club and I NEVER heard of anything like that happening! I'm not saying it didn't happen (I'm sure it did) I just hate for someone to typecast some of those kids as "riff-raff" unfairly. Not all poor disadvantaged children turn out "bad". It never helps if society doesn't even give you a chance. Just my 2 cents...And thanks for the first really civil response you've given me, offtotheright. I see that our children are of the utmost importance to us both.

raven 13 years, 1 month ago

offtotheright and carm: About the Boys and Girls Club, I agree with Carm that the kids should not be stereotyped. Many parents send their kids there for all kinds of different reasons. There is no reason to assume that just because it is 6 pm that the parents are home. They may not be. Even 'Granny' may have some kids that threaten others. Not trying to start a fight either, just wanted to add my opinion.

Liberty 13 years, 1 month ago

Parents should educate their children concerning Congress passing legislation like "Real ID Act" that is turning this country into a Communist nation. It will do nothing to control the borders and will oppress the general population with regulations. This is terrible legislation and must be repealed.

Yesterday a small group of Senators had a so- called debate in the mostly empty chambers of the Senate. Ten or so Senators complained about the inclusion of the REAL ID Act in the supplemental appropriations bill. (The Senate could have stripped out Real ID and then voted on the appropriations).

  • They said the REAL ID Act was dangerous, poorly conceived, and unnecessary.
  • They complained that the Senate had never even read or considered the REAL ID Act, but was now being "forced" to vote on it.
  • They objected to the improper procedure of the Conference Committee in adding REAL ID to the appropriations bill.
  • They objected to inflicting yet another unfunded federal mandate on the States.
  • They spoke of the protests they were hearing from their constituents, and predicted a public backlash if REAL ID became law.

It will now become the law of the land after President Bush rubber stamps it.

  • Now you will have to provide four proofs of your identity the next time you renew your driver's license.
  • You can also expect that your driver's license will include various types of private information about you, and down the road, a tracking device to follow you (RFID).
  • You can further expect to have your information placed in a central database available through hackers and unsavory government employees.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 13 years, 1 month ago you people even remember what it was like to be a kid?! I mean, come on, they've spent the last nine months in school and then you people are putting things down like "weed the garden" and "sewing". Okay, that might be "fun" if you're about sixty years old...

How about you take them to the pool/lake? Enroll them in a summer camp (whether a daycamp or stay-over), sign 'em up for martial arts lessons - both boys and girls, youth sports, etc.

Weed the garden...what the hell are you smoking...

Carmenilla 13 years, 1 month ago

"Weed the garden....what the hell are you smoking..."

I think you just answered your own question, hehe.

offtotheright, it was in one ear and out the other for you, wasn't it?

Ceallach 13 years, 1 month ago

H_K_P: True, kids will enjoy camps, lessons, etc. However, does it really harm them to learn to do some of the mundane things that make up family or community life?

Redneckgal 13 years, 1 month ago

I don't think there is anything wrong with making them do lawn work and house work. These are practical things that they need to learn to do anyhow. My oldest son will be spending a lot of time at his Grandma's farm this summer helping her mow and do things around the place. She'll feed him a good home cooked lunch and give him a little spending money and he'll be in hog heaven!

italianprincess 13 years, 1 month ago

I had my son in the boys and girls club when he was six. He went to the outdoor pool one day with a group and jumped into the deep end ( 12 ft of water ) because he wasn't being watched.

The lifeguard who was in charge of that section of the pool wasn't watching his post either. He went under, some 10 year old saw him, got out of line from the diving board and rescued him. If the little boy wasn't there my son wouldn't be here today. I contacted the paper ( you may have read about it ) and they did an interview with me and the pool to locate this 10 year old boy. We did find him and he recieved an award from the Red Cross and I bought him a free pool pass.

My son has not been back to the pool since, and this year along with swimming lessons I signed him for classes at the art center and the museum. Hes also going to spend a week at grandma's house. He also attends Lawrence Tae Kwon-Do School three nights a week.

I own an daycare here at home, but all my daycare kids are under 6 so he gets bored. He would rather be around kids his own age.

spongiform 13 years, 1 month ago

If we want to compete globally, American children should be going to school all year long.

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