Pictoral Evidence

This summer is a first in the sense that the girls are left to their own devices about twice a week. Let me start out with the oldest has taken the babysitting course nearly two years ago, and she is nearly 14 (gasp!!), and J is home, but asleep, since he gets home at 8 a.m. from a ten and a half hour shift. So should anything get out of hand, there is an adult close by to assist if need be. I can also be home in ten minutes. This childminding project can only work with a detailed outline of their entire day with plenty of activities and plans to avoid the two of them sitting comatose in front of screens. I have managed to control this by doing the following:
  • making theme days according to their interests (e.g. ninjas)
  • insisting they capture outdoor activity with a camera (as evidenced above)
  • interrogating them separately to confirm their stories (B never lies)
  • allowing time for screens with controls (online research and one predetermined movie - both in relation to theme)
  • leaving their favourite easy to prepare food (pizza pockets, mac & cheese)
  • writing down the obvious like brushing teeth and getting dressed (these daily to-dos need reminding when I'm around, so I fear the worst in my absence)
  • borrowing games and books and toys from local libraries (we're lucky to be members of a local toy library in addition to our city's public library)
  • giving some flexibility with clear, minimum expectations (these girls like chilling out a lot, so I need to respect that with sufficient quiet time, so I have suggested lots of quiet activities that can be done individually mixed with cooperative activities that will engage both of them)
  • throwing in an educational worksheet or two (more for the Bee, and I pick them to ensure success to increase her self-confidence, but challenging enought that she doesn't get frustrated)
  • keeping it light and fun (the list usually has a silly to-do that is sure to send them into a fit of giggles like 'brew a strong pot of coffee' 'cause mums should really know that 'little kids don't drink coffee', and this is a good place to use the word 'duty')
  • reinforcing verbally to the littlest that her big sister is not the mean one who says she can't watch tv outside of the designated video when in fact it is the mean mom who loves her to pieces, but doesn't want to see her little brain turn to mush

Week 2 is wrapping up nicely. The girls are surprisingly happy, and we have lots to catch up on when I get home. This is the opposite of when I get home during the school year. I never get more than, "School was fine." And even though I am sure there are some kerfuffles, those two girls have managed to work out everything on their own. El is learning how to compromise/negotiate with a 6-year old which is understandably quite a feat, and she is taking pride in checking off the list each day. The Bee is having lots of fun, and I'm going to have to watch that those two don't go being in cahoots 'cause I'm starting to see little signs that they're bonding and may have each other's back. But the biggest thing I've noticed is that after we clear off the dinner table, no one heads straight to the nearest screen be it the tv or computer. We've been baking, going to the library to play the summer reading game and getting the next clue, playing Traffic Jam Jr. quite competitively, and making more plans!

I'm also not so naive to think this will last all summer. After all, it's only been two weeks, but I can still soak it in for all its worth, right? : )



T of Balkan Style Bloggers said...

OMG you're the best mom ever. When will you realize that?

Balkan Style Bloggers said...

Aw, krikey! Now I'm blushing.

I forgot to mention that the teenager is being financially compensated which benefits the whole situation tremendously. $$$

LaurieM said...

You're an awesome mom! My boys are spending most of their time in front of the screens this summer. I have a minimum requirement for them to go outdoors but that's the end of our structure.

But it's different when they are almost 15 and 13...

knitty_kat said...

I think you should make me up a list that I should do as well. Maybe I'll get something done around here. LOL

One of these days.

Megan said...

You're also a great photographer- you always take some really neat pictures. I've never heard of a toy library- but what a great idea. Sounds like they are having a great summer- I hope it lasts.

Montreal Mama said...

You've really got a great eye with that camera!