The middle of summer. Too much heat, too much fun, too much time. More time than drops of water in Lake Erie. As a kid, time can endlessly stretch out like a trip to Pluto. Of course school is not the solution; no child thinks that; not the cure to their ills on most midsummer days. If only there was a solution like Hawking Radiation or something.
It's not that time is the problem. It's what to do with so much of it at one time. Scrimping and saving time in the dark of December or the horror of September only then to receive such a bounty in the summer; one can't begin to harvest it all. If only there was a way to hold it back; dam it up and retrieve it like kool-aid from the frig when needed.
As the responsible adult in their life, you naturally feel it's your duty to do something to fill up all that godforsaken time.
LET THEM EAT CAKE!
I hear a sense of desperation in the voices of moms when confronted with their children whom they think have too much time on their hands. A cold sweat starts in that Fight Club, "This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time" kinda way.
Helicopter if you must, but think for a moment that with a few well rehearsed boundaries you may just allow your kids to get bored. Being bored means the mind has slipped into neutral. The autopilot is off. Typically there is silence (read TV and Wii are off), and there is simply just absolutely nothing to do. The moment has been reached; the razor's edge of discovery is about to occur. Unless something else has been found to do.
Then of course they'll have scurried safely from the edge of an important life lesson. You have a mind and it was meant to entertain you. But left alone, children may discover this secret truth and begin to explore what's happening inside them rather than just what's happening outside.
NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER . . .
Only having too much time on their hands will your kids have a chance to discover how to entertain themselves. Imagination and discovery--aimless, pointless, useless discovery. It's the basis of all significant research. Discovery for it's own sake.
I remember the older folks complaining how we kids had no imagination and how they could entertain themselves with a pebble and a twig for hours. Eyes rolled while quickly exiting the room before chores were assigned. Today what competes for your kid's attention has exponentially increased with no end in sight.
Being forced to sit with ones own thoughts and figure out what to do and then finding something is a journey that can only be taken alone. Getting lost for hours in a local creek, building a dam and sitting in the pool you've made is never forgotten. Catching minnows and bringing them home to keep alive (if only for a few days) is a treasured memory for many kids.
Setting off across the cornfield to find out "whats over there" may be to scary for you to contemplate your kid doing; but discovery has risks.
CREATIVITY TAKES TIME
Lots and lots of time. For kids this may include idle time. Time that forces them to be creative. Can you keep your kids busy and safe for your own peace of mind and lose something more in the trade?