Sad Working Parents of a 10-year old

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2013
Sad Working Parents of a 10-year old
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.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2010
Mon, 07-15-2013 - 9:35pm

First, you are not bad parents because you are not able to continue to have a SAHP.  And I agree with Bordwithyou, lots of kids get bored by now, even when they have things they could do.  Many kids tend to get in a rut over the summer.  I have 2 teenagers and one can drive & I've even had to prod her a little and give her ideas of how she can meet up with friends (they can't drive & she can't pick them up). 

So I think you've been given some great ideas.  The camp thing or rec programs sound great.  YOu meantion the problem is that he gets home late from karate etc, so maybe half day programs or only 3 days a week programs would work well.  When my kids were younger we made plans to meet up at playgrounds with other parents--it was an organized thing where a different playground for the one day a week we did this & whoever could come would meet up there.  Maybe some organizing with his friend's parents would help to meet up at a playground or other place halfway between where they & you live.  Are grandparents up to driving him places if you make playdates?  Even if there isn't something going on every day, it would probably help his boredom if he had a few things already planned during the week for him, to look forward to. 

“Clearly," said Arthur,"you're an idiot- but you're our kind of idiot. Come on.” 
― Markus ZusakThe Book Thief

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 07-15-2013 - 7:48pm

I may have missed something in your post, but it wasn't clear why he can't do a day camp. I know you mentioned karate, but if he's bored, this means he probably has energy he isn't spending.  Is there any way you could sign him up for a day camp even a few days a week? I know the YMCA has affordable camps. Even if he just went to something like this 3 days a week, he'd have a great time and would enjoy the time with his grandparents more. The last thing you want is to color his relationship with his grandparents in a negative way.

If this isn't a reasonable solution, maybe you could make a list of things he could do with his grandparents, as they are probably at a loss for ideas. They could go to the library, a public playground where he could see other kids his age, a skate park if he is into that, a public pool, or even tours of local factories (seriously, that can be a lot of fun for a kid--I remember touring the Frito-Lay factory when I was this age). My elderly parents take my niece and nephew to museums (they live in the Seattle area and the Pacific Science Center and the Museum of Flight are huge hits for all ages.) It will require planning, but if your son has an outing to look forward to, he may not feel so bad about the days when he's stuck at their house.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 07-15-2013 - 7:33pm
Well, the summer is half over and lots of kids are voicing boredom. I would certainly try to get him together with the one friend during the week. Also, if he had school friends near where you work, can he come to work with you and have the friends pick him up there? The you have the friends over on the weekend or whatever. Also, if you know a slightly older teen in the area where your parents live, could that kid be bribed to take your son to a movie or something now and again?
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2013
Mon, 07-15-2013 - 7:29pm

Hi Bordwithyou.

Thanks for your reply.

Because we live away from the neighborhood his school is in, he doesn't have access to his school friends other than through texts.  (I had him tranferred when my wife and I worked different parts of the Bay Area.  Now that she works here with me, it was the best thing for us to keep him at the school near the office.)  He has a karate friend who is in the same black belt training he's in.  They're training partners, the same age, and have a pretty good friendship.  We've picked him up to tak to training and that boy's mom is great.  She's offered to have my son over and we may take him up on the offer.  My inlaws have a dog and I've tasked my son to find tricks online and teach the little guy how to do them.

I've investegated rec centers where grandpa can drop him off at and pick him up at later in the day.  I'm trying to see if schedules permit...we'll see.

I've also asked him to go online and look at things he'd like to do when we go to Las Vegas in November for my 40th birthday.  For sure we're taking him to a concert there, and I know there are tons to do in Vegas as a family.  I'm having him research it so it's completely tailored to his must sees and must dos.

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.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 07-15-2013 - 7:27pm

I"m a divorced mom so staying home in the summer was never an option for me.  Actually when my kids were that age they went to the town day camp because there were no relatives around to babysit--it was a full day and they went to the beach every day, did arts & crafts, sports, etc.  Our town also had other recreational programs that were only 1/2 day, tennis lessons & stuff like that--maybe you could check that out with your town or the Y or boys club.  I'd seek out his friends too--maybe one of the friend's moms will be willing to take him 1-2 days a week if you give her a little cash or do take her kid on the weekend some time.  An arts & crafts project of some kind might be interesting.  Or reading books is definitely better than watching TV all day--Harry Potter or something like that.  Some libraries will give a prize or something if the kid reads so many books during the summer.  Could he play some kind of old fashioned board games with the grandparents or cards?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 07-15-2013 - 6:50pm
Are there friends available? Can he hang out with friends a half day twice a week? Dies he have any interests where volunteering would be a possibility? Ten is a little young, but there are things a ten year old can do. Can you set him up with some kind of "project" to complete? Can he do yard work or pet-sitting or something in the neighborhood to earn a little money? Are there recreation centers, pools, summer library reading clubs, things like that he can attend?