Time spent planning for those summers when children seem too old for daycare but too young to be home alone is well spent.
"Tweens," working parents, and summer plans
U parents share approaches to planning for their 8- to 12-year-olds
By Anita Rios
From Brief, May 5, 2004
They're not young children anymore and they're not teens. They're "tweens"--children between the ages of 8 and 12. They are midway between early childhood and adolescence, and they lean more toward teen styles, attitudes, and behavior. Working parents of 8- to 12-year-olds can find this a tough age to plan for during the summer months, when their children may seem too old for daycare but are still too young to be home alone. I recently asked some University parents what they do to keep their "tweens" busy over summer vacation. "By early April of each year, I start patching together a week-by-week summer schedule for my now-10-year-old Emma that rivals the Queen of England's in complexity and variety," says Mary Knatterud, associate professor in the Department of Surgery. Emma's summer consists of day camps at the Bell Museum and St. Paul Gym, public school enrichment courses, community education tennis class, Girl Scout activities, summer school, and overnight church camps. Knatterud jokes that she often needs to slap color-coded Post-it notes on her family members' foreheads to remember where they're headed each day.
Resources for 8- to
--Selected camps on the Work/Life Web site
--Summer camps introduce youth to the U
Summer school options
Check with your local school district for free or subsidized summer school programs. These are usually half-day programs that can be combined with day care arrangements. Local libraries also offer summer reading programs, book clubs, and activities that can be combined with day care arrangements.
For useful information on leaving children home alone and for babysitting age guidelines, see http://www.nccic.org/faqs /homealone.html.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has five new Internet projects designed for America's 16 million children between the ages of 9 and 12. These innovative Web sites, scheduled to launch this spring and summer, inaugurate a new generation of creative educational destinations on the Internet, a place where children are spending more of their time. Two of the sites, "It's My Life" and "Don't Buy It," launched April 15. Check out the preview pages at www.pbskids.org/itsmylife and www.pbskids.org/dontbuyit. The other three sites are scheduled to launch at the end of the summer.
Some statistics on
Between 1988 and 1995, the proportion of girls who said they had sexual intercourse before 15 rose from 11 percent to 19 percent. Boys remained stable at 21 percent.
The past decade has seen more than a doubling of the proportion of eighth-graders who have smoked marijuana (10 percent today) and of those who no longer see it as dangerous.
Suicide among 8- to 12-year-olds more than doubled between 1979 and 1995. Therapists say they are seeing a growth in eating disorders--anorexia and obsessive eating--even among girls in late elementary school, doubtless an outgrowth of a premature fashion-consciousness.
Source: "Kids Today Are Growing Up Way Too Fast," by Kay S. Hymowitz, Wall Street Journal, October 28, 1998.
Anita Rios is the coordinator of the Work/Life Initiative in the Office of Human Resources.