When is your kids’ last day of school? Here in Minnesota, we go on for about a week after Memorial Day, and if we’ve had a rough winter, extra days are tacked on to the end. We probably should have some makeup days this year, but the district (like many) is in financial trouble, so they’re bypassing makeup days.

Ian will be doing summer hockey, baseball, a summer play, soccer, and swimming lessons. Mara has soccer and swimming lessons, and maybe the summer play, if she feels like it.

Writing that down, it looks like a lot. Throw in a vacation, trips to grandparents’ houses, and any summer academic work I might want to give them, and I ask myself if it’s too much.

If I were still office-bound, I’d say yes, it is. Last summer, when I was still working at the office, a half-hour commute meant I had only the tiniest margins of error any time I wanted to cart my kids around to activities. But now that I’m working at home, I have a much better feel for how much we can schedule. And I don’t think this is too much.

The reason we have fond memories of summer vacation is the sense of long stretches of time with nothing to do. Can you even imagine, anymore, what nothing to do feels like? It’s magical. Kids have to have time to lie around and daydream, to put themselves into that almost hypnotic state that prepares the brain for a spark of creativity and excitement. If I were rushing back from the office to pick the kids up from summer day care to fling them into a sport and then fly home to throw something crappy together for supper, I would think they were overscheduled because I would be overscheduled. But because my time can be balanced between everything that needs to be done, I can make sure they are prepared and focused for the summer activities.

Of course, the best barometer for whether kids are overscheduled is how they feel. If a child is reluctant to put on the uniform to get ready for a game, or balks when it’s time to go to swimming lessons, you know something is up. What are your kids doing this summer?

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