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What to do with a preteen in the forthcoming summer holidays?

(17 Posts)
Winnie Mon 04-Jun-01 14:06:03

My daughter was glad to return to school this morning following this weeks break and I am very aware that she was incredibly bored this weekend.
Any suggestions for coping with the summer holidays (that won't break the bank)would be greatly appreciated. She is eleven and since her baby brother was born, almost eight months ago, I feel like I've not had the time to give her all the attention she deserves. I make time for her but inevitably she doesn't receive as much attention as she did when she was an only child. I would like her to enjoy this vacation as she is off to secondary school in September and a whole new chapter begins for all of us.

Alibubbles Mon 04-Jun-01 14:37:57

Why not find a childminder for the baby for a few mornings a week so you culd give your DD your undivided attention for a short while. She's also probably feeling a little jealous and lonely, afterall she's had you to herself for a long while. She'll soon want to looking at clothes and thing like that, shopping for new school stuff etc, it would be easier without a pushchair and baby in tow. The baby won't mind as long as he with someone who will spend time settling himin. She will probably need a lot of support when she starts her new school, hopefully some of her friends will be going too. Get her to invite them back,homework permitting, to overcome the loneliness and boredom. try and involve her more with the baby,emphasise her contribution when she helps, make her feel she is special to her brother. Good luck

Copper Tue 05-Jun-01 15:31:14

You really will need to find some more time for her when she moves on to secondary school - she'll really need your support.

The childminder idea is a good one - especially if you can find one who specialises in looking after teachers' children, as they often have holiday vacancies (and teachers are very picky!)
Although your daughter is at the age for being bored, and for working through it, I think that you are right in wanting to give her some special time over this summer.

Copper Tue 05-Jun-01 17:17:38

Winnie,
what does your daughter like doing? Does she want entertaining all day? Or does she want something to look forward to? Is there anything you like doing together? Anything that will boost her confidence or make her feel super-cool for September? Is she a reader, cardplayer, sporty? Would she like to earn money by e.g. cooking two meals a week? Does she go out alone or with friends yet?
The comment about being bored was because my daughter (who is now officially a teenager) was at her most bored at just this time - she made herself certificates of boredness! Maybe its after all the excitement and tension of SATs?
She has always found summer holdiays a trial, especially as her best friend is away on wonderful holidays most of the time (and we are not)- but it was definitely at its worst at 11.
I'd really like to talk this through to get some ideas for this year - not that any of my ideas will be acceptable to my daughter! Tennis? how sad!

Rhiannon Tue 05-Jun-01 20:37:01

Could your daughter invite a friend over to stay for a few days over the hols? She might get an invite back too!

What about inviting friends over for a popcorn and movie night or a sleep over party or to put make up on and do their nails and hair.

How about getting her to have a big toy and clothes clear out and having a boot sale one weekend and she could spend the money on new clothes?

What about decorating her room? Or is the baby crawling!

Is she a stroppy, sulky 11 or a willing, happy 11?

Winnie Wed 06-Jun-01 09:05:29

Copper, Alibubbles & Rhiannon (did you have a good holiday Rhiannon?) thanks for the advice. it is good to know Copper that the bordom thing is quite normal and not simply a consequence of my parenting skills! She has never been particularly like this before. Rhiannon, my dd is happy and willing which is a big plus!

We always do the swimming, sleepover, picnics, a theatre trip stuff but after nearly eight years of summer holidays (we lived in Wales and she started school at three) one does tend to run out of ideas. However, we've talked about it and we are planning an 'exchange' with friends who have just moved 150 miles away. We will have the two girls at one point in the hols for a few days and they will have them at another point. Hopefully if we do this at the beginning and end of the hols it will give them something to look forward to!

The time on our own is a good idea. I think we both miss that. I do think SATS being over is a bit of an anti climax this morning she was incredulous that they don't get their results until July.

I have asked what she would like to do but even at Christmas she says "I don't mind what I get for Christmas.It's the thought that counts!" Although she has remarked that it is a while since we've been to London.

She is swapping rooms with her brother and as the child who will not get rid of anything (the baby toys have come in useful though) the car bootsale/keeping the money might be the perfect solution to her finally being ruthless with her things. Thanks all.

Rhiannon Wed 06-Jun-01 12:41:09

Winnie, yes a wonderful holiday thankyou but it was very hot nearly 100 degrees every day so quite exhausting but we paced ourselves so that we had a day by the pool after going to a theme park. Lots of lovely shopping too!

Copper Wed 06-Jun-01 14:19:01

WInnie
isn't it typical that we always blame ourselves? I've been reading some of the threads about feeling isolated. I wonder if ANYBODY really feels confident and not eaten up with worry about something or other.

One thing you could do (which my daughter likes) is to have video evenings - we make up the popcorn and watch slushy films that her dad would laugh at if we let him near them. You can do this with books too - find something that you and she like. I read to my daughter in the summer that she was bored stiff, and I was really pleased at how much she enjoyed it. We read things like the Philip Pullman Northern Lights books - things which she felt were too daunting to read alone. I think what she liked best was that we were doing something together, just her and me. But she still claimed to be bored ...

Bee Wed 06-Jun-01 20:10:00

I wonder if your daughter likes craft stuff Winnie.I bought my daughter one of those Ikea plain sets of drawers. It was her project to paint it using match pots of emulsion colours(which I happened to have at home).Your daughter sounds old enough to be able to do most of it herself, maybe varnish and decoupage? This could take up alot of time(planning/researching pictures from magazines and sketching) and could be something you could work on together, when you get a moment.It could be a keepsake box to hold memories of her holidays. Just an idea, hope you have a good holiday anyway.

Winnie Thu 07-Jun-01 09:06:17

Bee, what a lovely idea. I am sure my daughter would love that!

Copper, we do the video evenings too. We both really enjoy that. To be honest my dd gets the best of both worlds because my partner is into football (groan) and she loves football too so they very often confine themselves to our front room and the tv with snacks etc., and have a very good time without me!! And, you are so right, we do tend to blame ourselves even when we know deep down that we are actually good parents but perhaps that is what makes for good parents, a questioning of ones role! Can I ask Copper, how do you feel about your relationship now that your daughter is a teenager? I have always been very close to my daughter and to be honest now she is growing up I simply find that our relationship is strengthening. Of course we have our differences, she is very different from me (hence the football) but despite its bad press I am looking forward to her teenage years.

I wonder if the inevitable boredom simply comes from a need to be with their peers as much as possible? This is a time when she is learning to do an awful lot more on her own or with her friends. Maybe it is the inevitable generation gap, parents simply are not 'cool' enough. Although, I did laugh recently as my daughter found it highly amusing that her friend described me as 'cool'... Isn't it funny how we are perceived by others? However, I digress. Thanks for the messages everyone.

Copper Fri 08-Jun-01 10:30:26

Winnie
we had a brief rocky patch just about the time when her periods first started - lots of moods, banging doors etc. Since then, it's been great. She is sometimes very affectionate and wants lots of cuddles - sometimes very sarky - and often very funny. Mind you, she is still at the stage of thinking of boys as fellow humans ...

Now we have a few sulks but no major tantrums. When we wouldn't let her get any Eminem CDs she was very vocally annoyed, but actually accepted our authority. I found this encouraging because I now feel more confident about asserting authority if necessary as well as trying to be a friend. We have a very friendly relationship and laugh a lot. She's great - she's not my little girl any more but she is a person I'm really proud of and I hope a lifelong friend - a real friend.

When she started secondary school, I set a lot of time aside to encourage her with her homework. She did it on the kitchen table and we would look at it together. I didn't intervene unless asked, but I did sit with her. I think this was good because she had someone who was obviously interested in details. I still try to keep a close eye on her books (not for educational reasons, but so I know what she is experiencing) and to talk about the things that interest her - though I refuse to watch the X files with her!

Bee
I thought your idea was absolutely lovely. I think I'll try this one. But our house is so full already - where to put the end result?

Batters Sun 10-Jun-01 21:17:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Copper Tue 21-Aug-01 17:27:06

Winnie
how is the holiday going? Are you and your daughter having a good time?

Winnie Wed 22-Aug-01 15:53:34

Copper, thanks for asking...the holidays have flown by. I really can't believe how easy it has been (although I shouldn't count my chickens...). Dd has been out and about quite alot with friends & family and this is her second week at a summer school which she is enjoying enormously. Amazingly lots of the things I had planned we haven't had time to do! And thank goodness (so far) I have not heard the word bored once! Hope you are having an equally good holiday with your dd (?)

Copper Sat 01-Sep-01 11:55:46

Yes, we've had a really good time. We didn't do anything special but it's been fun. I'm always amazed she likes me as much as she obviously does. How does your daughter feel about you going back to work?

Winnie Sun 02-Sep-01 00:33:46

Hi Copper, glad it has all gone well for you too. I understand what you say about being amazed that she likes you as much as she does! I think we expect angst from teenagers and (although mine isn't quite a teenager yet) having a great relationship with this age group as parents isn't something that is given much coverage! As to your question regarding my returning to work, I've only actually been not working for 13 months (since I went on maternity leave) so my daughter is used to me working. I will be working just less than fulltime hours and will be home when she gets home from school so (hopefully) that will help all of us. I need to be working in order to preserve my sanity and I think that has been quite obvious to all in this household. I am simply a better parent when working and I think my daughter appreciates this. She has said that she is very proud of me but I think that is as much about the fact that I shall be working for a charity that she very much approves of and thinks is 'cool'...!

Copper Tue 04-Sep-01 15:51:29

That sounds a really good arrangement. I hope your daughter's having a good time at her new school. Mine found it difficult to start with but settled down after about 3 weeks of lip-trembling in the morning. She's a really interesting person, and wonderful company. Best of luck with school and work!

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