Sad Working Parents of a 10-year old

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2013
Sad Working Parents of a 10-year old
16
Mon, 07-15-2013 - 6:26pm

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the forum.  I am the father of a 10-year old boy.  He is the love of our lives and while he is our only child, we've been trying for the last three years to conceive as we would love for him to have a sibling to share us with (and for us to share with him), but that's for another forum.

I am writing here because we have suddenly found that since our situation for the last three years has changed, our son's needs are also now much different and we don't know how to help him or ourselves.

Three years ago, with the economic downturn, my wife was laid off from her job as a retail buyer.  While claiming the unemployment benefits she had earned over the years, she embraced her time at home with our son and her new role as a SAHM and housewife.  While his summers home from school were fairly uneventful, at least she was home with him and was able to tend to his needs.

Last August, she finally found work and everything seemed to be great.  I work in education and she was able to find a job in the same office, in our purchasing department.  As an added bonus, my son's school is less than a block away from the office so we have one commute.

Since we were now both working and school had ended, my son stays with his grandparents and he is miserable.  He loves his grandparents dearly, but his days are long with nothing to do but watch television and be idle.  I took the past week off to hang out with him and we did things from play video games to watching a baseball game and we went to a waterpark.  As this past week ended, he voiced to his mother that he wished he was in school again because he's so bored at his grandparents' house.  It's heartbreaking to hear. 

His grandparents are older and while they engage him as best they can, they aren't as mobile as they once were (he's very athletic).  They've taken him to the movies and to the mall, but most of the time they're home.

My wife is in tears because she'd love to just leave the job (which she really just took because we need the extra income) to be a SAHM again, but we live in the Bay Area of California and living here doesn't come cheap.

We thought about putting him in summer school and summer camps however, he does karate in the evenings and he's training for his black belt which he should be getting in October.  That karate training takes a lot out of him.  We end up going home after his training which ends up being about 8:30.  That only gives us time for a quick dinner and a little catch-up time with each other.

Luckily he's been able to spend a week with my sister who is a school teacher and has the summer off.  He's got 4 boy cousins ages ranging from 12 to 3 to hang with there, but they live a hour away, so it hasn't been a whole-summer kind of thing.  He has 2 older girl cousins on my wife's side that are willing to hang out with him, 1 is 17 the other is 15.  They love him to pieces.  The 15 year old and him used to be thick as thieves.  Now she's interested in boys and less interested in him.  The 17 year old has aged out of his interests.

I'd love any help and advice from the forum as far as what you do for a bored child that's had to hang with grandma and grandpa for the summer.  I'm at the point where I'm grasping at straws as far as how to keep him engaged in things and not bored while at the grandparents' house.

I've already made plans for when we get home.  We'll be teaching him how to cook and do laundry as well as other fun games and movie nights to keep him busy and engaged at home instead of parked for more hours in front of the tv.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2000
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 10:54pm

Another thing, your son should be helping his grandparents in the form of chores.  Helping others is good for everyone especially children.  And a list of chores, as other people have posted, helps to encourage the creative juices flowing.

Chris

The truth may be out there but lies are in your head. Terry Pratchett

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2000
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 10:28pm

At that age, we did a combination of things.  Public library, local theater had free kids movies 2 mornings a week , and the Boys and Girls Club.  All of them were within walking distance from my work.  I would drop him off at the movie theater where we met up with my boss's son.  They would watch the movie together and when it was over, either my boss or I would pick them up.  If Dylan went by himself, he walked to my work (boss's dh didn't want their son, age 8, to be walking from the theater to work).  After eating lunch, Dylan had the option of going to the Boys and Girls Club, playing with boss's son (there was a kids room at the back of the shop right next to the room I worked in), or walking to the library.  On Mondays, the library had a chess club that both boys would go to.

Chris

The truth may be out there but lies are in your head. Terry Pratchett

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 4:14pm

Your son is my DS' age and to me, that age still needs some structure or to be told what to do.  Are you an educator?  Can you create a schedule for him with a list of things for him to do that he likes and wants to do?  Is there a pet he can walk?  What about games or a puzzle or a craft?  Does he like to read?  Are there materials form last school year he brought home that will prepare him for the next school year?  I do that with my own kids so they don't lose touch with schooling all together over the Summer and I'm probably a teacher's pita b/c I purposely request enough of this stuff before the end of the year too.    Most if not all of that is free and costs you nothing except a few minutes brainstorming a plan or schedule.  Good luck, Have a nice Summer.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 1:23pm

nelnelcoolj wrote:
<p>Yes, but when you ask him you get the typical pre-teen shrugs and "I don't know"s.</p>

Then there isn't much you can do if the kid doesn't want to do the many things you suggest...I always find the cure to boredom in my house is offering chores to keep them from being bored.  It's funny how fast they find something to do....

PumpkinAngel

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 1:21pm

nelnelcoolj wrote:
He's very sports oriented. He loves football, baseball, etc. However, it's kind of hard for him to throw the ball around if grandpa usually isn't up to it. So he waits for me to get home to be able to do that.

Try a pitchback, the ball automatically comes back to the thrower.  I don't know your area but ime there are numerous short term camps that are sports related all summer long.  Some are half day, some are 9-3...I would suggest googling your area and the sport or check the local newspaper, sometimes they are listed there.

PumpkinAngel

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2013
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 12:10pm

Yes, but when you ask him you get the typical pre-teen shrugs and "I don't know"s.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2013
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 12:09pm
He's very sports oriented. He loves football, baseball, etc. However, it's kind of hard for him to throw the ball around if grandpa usually isn't up to it. So he waits for me to get home to be able to do that.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2013
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 12:05pm

Thank you for your reply.

We actually have looked into these camps.  Of the ones we've found the timing ends up being off.  What I mean by this is that while he seems easily bored while at his grandparents' house, they do have stuff planned for him (and his cousins).  They are taking all the grandkids on a 4-day bus tour in a couple of weeks.  Which we are glad for as they do plan 1 or 2 summer activities for grandchildren bonding and they all look forward to it.  The camps that we've found cut into that time so the value of going vs. the days he will miss don't make it a worthy option. Also, don't get me wrong.  He absolutely adores his grandparents.  It's the idle time between things that he is done with.

I have given him a slew of ideas of things to do.  He was a voracious reader, but the bug hasn't bit him this summer.  I'm trying to kickstart that.  I've got him writing letters to relatives overseas and his mom and I have given him our work email addresses so he can always email with us.  There are a couple of playgrounds near the house that I told him to get his grandparents to go with him.  They need the exercise too, even if it's just to walk there.

I think what he's really looking for is an outlet for his energy which seems to be stifled and pent up all day.  When we got there to pick him up yesterday, instead of working out during my lunch hour we ran some laps around the neighborhood which seemed to help alleviate his boredom.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 11:29am

<<So we do have some avenues to pursue, but since it's so raw as he's only voiced it this past weekend, we're a bit upset that he isn't happy.>>

Have you asked him what he wants to do?   I think bordeom is part of being a kid at times, they need to figure out how to keep themselves interested and/or active to  certain degree.


PumpkinAngel

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 11:27am

I'm confused a bit...you said he was a physically active child and thus bored during the day but can't do anything physical because of the evening activity of karate?  So, you are looking for something not physical but entertaining?  

What about checking out the local library for resources, they tend to have a lot of activies ime.  What about checking with kids in the neighborhood?  Local pool?  Local school district?  Ymca or community center? 

My kids are in and out all summer, but they are older and many of their activities now center around stuff they participate in high school but when they were that age, we did local camps based on their interests.

PumpkinAngel

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