This Summer has been the Summer of independence as far as my children have been concerned – they’re 11 (almost 12) and 9 now so I’ve had to find the line between letting them have too much freedom and not allowing them enough!
It certainly hasn’t been easy and if I’m honest there’s been plenty of times when I’ve just wanted to keep them at home with me where I know exactly where they are and what they’re doing.
I started introducing a little more freedom a few months ago by letting them go swimming on their own at the local swimming baths. Don’t tell anyone but the first time I let them go by themselves I dropped them off telling them I’d pick them up in an hour and then went and parked the car so I could sneak back and make sure they were being sensible. The good news is that they were and the even better news is that they didn’t see me but that little check made me feel so much better! Now they go swimming on their own once or twice a week and they love it.
The hardest part has been letting them play out with their friends as they’ve wanted to go further afield than they have in the past – they’re no longer happy just riding up and down the street unfortunately!
They have scooters and BMX bikes so getting about is easy enough which is a good job as their friends are scattered about all over the place. They like to go round and collect everyone and then spend the day playing somewhere between everyone’s houses. This is where I’m really lucky because the kids that Miss F plays with are all lovely (I’m sure they get up to mischief as you’d expect). It’s a group of boys and girls who she’s been with since Reception and they’re quite happy for Master F to tag along which is great because otherwise, he’d be at home while they played out as his friends aren’t all close by. And he certainly wouldn’t be allowed the freedom he has now if he was on his own or with children his own age.
I find it difficult not knowing exactly where they are but at the same time, they have set limits of where they can and can’t go and they’re actually really good about this usually. They stick together and rarely have a drama or a falling out so I know I don’t really need to worry but it’s the not knowing and the not being able to actually see them that I hate. I’m trying though and I worry less now than I did at the start of the Summer!
I’ve also made sure they know that any of their friends are welcome at our house anytime which is great although it does mean that my freezer needs to be constantly stocked with ice pops and my cupboards always have to have tins of hot dogs just in case I have lots of hungry people to feed. I’ve also started to make juice up by the bottle and keep it in the fridge along with a stack of plastic cups!
Another thing I want to do, but know that I can’t, is to get involved when they are upset. I’d love to tell the little boy round the corner who tried to steal their football where to go or to tell the little girl who calls them names exactly what I think of her but they need to learn and they need to fight their own battles to a certain extent. I’d be there in a shot if it got serious but for the most part, I know that I only hear one side of every story and that they probably give as good as they get.
We’ve done less this Summer than ever before as they’re content to play with their friends and play on the Xbox every now and again. In the past we’ve always planned days out and trips to museums etc and even though I had that planned this year, we’ve done hardly any of it.
What we have done has been fun though….
This Summer has actually been quite reminiscent of Summers from my own childhood – a couple of brilliant days out, a week away and chilling out with my friends. Except for the fact that I used to actually knock on my friends doors to call for them, this lot text or Face time each other and the other day, Miss F even got a Instagram message with a picture of her friends asking if she was coming out.
All in all, it’s been a great Summer and I’m sad that it’s coming to an end.
Not long until Half Term though!