Help! Preteens and 8 weeks of hols looming....

(12 Posts)
BlogOnTheTyne Mon 24-Jun-13 05:50:10

Got 12 yr old DTs (boys) who used to go to about 3 or 4 weeks of organised clubs during the 8 week summer hols. I'd take off from work (self-employed single mum) 2 weeks at the start and about 2 weeks at the end and we'd survive.

But this year, they're not at all into doing organised clubs and feel they're much too old. Yet they're also too young to go out all day, every day, alone. They don't have the kind of friends who might all hang out at the park or in town. One DT (with Asperger's) currently has no defined friends at all now.

Both will happily stay on computers all day, every day, from dawn to dusk but I'm not happy with this at all. OK if it's 2 to 3 hrs max. but this would be easily 13 hrs!! However, it's the one thing they'll do when I'm in meetings/working (run business from home).

We're going away for one week to a UK cottage hol. and then I'm taking off the next week but then I really need to get back to work. I might take a bit more time off in late August but what about the other 5 weeks?

They won't go out together on bikes (and it's not that safe anyway with the local roads) and they fight horribly and are v v different to each other. They don't like sports. They used to do arts/crafts or drama hol. clubs but have refused to attend any more and are any way near the top of the age range for the ones they used to attend.

I imagined that by this stage, they'd be going off together to meet up with friends and maybe go to town or the park to play tennis - but the one who feels he could cope with this is the one who has no friends and the one who has some friends, wouldn't want DT along with him but feels too nervous to go out alone much without me.

Can anyone help me do some 'lateral thinking' about how to fill their 8 week summer hol., so I can still work, without allowing them to spend almost every moment on computers?!

Could you invent a project for them. One year when DB1 and I were about 12 & 10 my DM set us a local history project - so we went off on bikes to map the area, to the library to find out about landmarks, and made a scrapbook.

I realise that it was a different age, and it does sound too worthy for words, but with some lateral thinking - research online, but lots of photos? Or maybe a different topic? An engineering challenge or some other sort of construction? You need something wit some element of collaboration but lots they can do separately, I am guessing.

I feel your pain. DS is 10 and I have my fingers firmly crossed for the new (to us) and/or revamped holiday clubs we have booked this year lasting for a couple more years.

hesterton Mon 24-Jun-13 06:05:06

Can you afford to pay an A Level student to come for an hour a day or.maybe a couple.of.mornings a week to set them challenges and monitor the challenges?

Older young people are more powerful in terms of influence than parental figures quite often at this age.

Ladymuck Mon 24-Jun-13 06:11:18

To be honest, I think that you will have to look at some organised clubs still - I do think that boys that age need structure. But you may have to look further afield for the best sort of clubs. You probably won't be looking for anything aimed at primary school.

Do they not like any sport at all? Tennis, swimming, hockey, horse riding?

What about music? There are a good few holiday music courses. Or a PGL type holiday? There should be plenty of drama courses aimed at that age range.

I have a10 year old and 12 year old, the oldest of whom really hates holiday clubs. So far he has signed up for a weeks Venture holiday with some friends, a week's brass band camp and a hockey course. The younger is doing the same Ventures camp, brass camp, a cricket course and will do some horse riding. I have a few days out booked with Tesco club cards ( bring a friend to a theme park).

Don't know whether this helps. Certainly I've had to look further afield for suitable courses, and done quite a lot of selling rather than telling. Dh was willing to resort to bribery, which certainly had a positive response!

Lottie4 Mon 24-Jun-13 09:55:29

You may have seen my thread on what to do with 11/12 year olds in the holidays. Don't know if there's anything on there which will help.

I appreciate one of your sons hasn't got any defined friends. What about your other son. Perhaps he could contact his friends and invite them to your house, even if they end up playing on the computers still, there will be a different input. Another child around, may inspire them to do something different if you're lucky. When they have a friend you could suggest they walk to a local shop to hire a dvd or buy some chocolate, that will at least get them out for 15 mins. Have a pizza/something else yummy in so if its going well you can invite friend to stay on for tea.

I've also suggested to my daughter she might like a couple of sleepovers here. I've asked my daughter to start talking to friends about the holidays - they all like being in as well, so I've made it clear they can be here. She now knows that on days she doesn't see any friends and doesn't want to do anything constructive, like cinema, dvd, art, cooking, then we will at least be stretching our legs if only for a walk the long way around to Tescos.

I've been looking at clubs for my daughter the last couple of days. She doesn't want to do any of them either, she hasn't got an interest or like you say she's done it all before and is at the top range of what the club offers anyway. I know it's hard.

Ragwort Mon 24-Jun-13 10:00:35

Have you got any friends/relatives/godparents who might have them to stay or might come and stay themselves and 'keep an eye' on the boys rather than have to entertain them all day.

Otherwise the suggestion of a student or older teenager who would 'hang out' with the boys might be a good idea.

Agree it is a difficult age, I am not out at work but even so, my 12 year old wouldn't dream of going out for a lovely day trip with mum hmm.

My DS is 11 and also outgrown the holiday club he used to do. I would look around at some other holiday clubs though. We have found another one which takes children up to 14, they do stuff much more tailored to that age group and although it is a bit more expensive if he as at home he would spend all my work time on Minecraft so I think it is worth it!

BlogOnTheTyne Mon 24-Jun-13 11:18:10

Thanks for all the ideas. I think I've got incredibly difficult DCs!! They'd baulk completely at having an older student here to 'oversee' them. So unfortunately I don't think that would work.

I'd LOVE them to engage in some kind of project together. DT1 however, has the attention span of a gnat and probably wouldn't stay with it. Anything that involves a joint project would definitely end in a massive argument/fight between them, if I'm not there to supervise and I can't be there when I'm working. I've suggested in the past that they sort through old possessions/toys and categorise them into keep/store/sell/bin. They like the idea but again, wouldn't have the focus to do this for more than 10 mins alone without me supervising.

They're sounding pretty difficult, aren't they? They're scoffed at musical activities, despite doing an instrument each - and barely ever practice anyway. One loved horse-riding whilst the other outgrew it and it got too expensive for me to keep funding anyway.

It doesn't work at all these days to have DT1's friends around as DT2 feels left out and most of DT1s current friends are DT2s ex-friends! So that's a non-starter really. Gone are the days when they shared friends or each went to a different friend's house to play.

In any case, they couldn't have friends round whilst I work as they have to keep quiet when I'm in meetings and I suppose that's why I've relied on them sitting quietly in front of PCs, as it's the only thing that stops them fighting and keeps them quiet!

That's really why I want them to feel able to go out and do stuff but they do seem too young or problematic to do this. I've got no family who could ever have them. Occasionally, a friend will have them both over to be with their DCs but increasingly, this doesn't work as DT2 - with Asperger's - becomes more socially awkward. His twin will then do stuff with the other child and he's left out.

Whenever DT1 has gone to a friend's alone, DT2 misses him, despite fighting and arguing, the second he returns - and also secretly feels ostracised, given the friend is nowadays one of DT2's ex friends who've gravitated towards his NT twin and abandoned DT2.

It's that tricky age now when holiday clubs feel too babyish for them or they're not compatible with what lots of their friends enjoy - like sports or music and they basically no longer want to do any kind of structured club. Probably get too much of that at school.

I did suggest just a 2 hr tennis club (they tolerate tennis but are more or less complete beginners) for a week each day that they could get to and from alone, after a 30 min cycle ride. Both refused!

I'll keep looking for holiday clubs, although most are now booked up. The 'project' idea might be most feasible - although ideally not online research....just need to figure out what they could do, how it would work without me there supervising to stop them fighting or giving up after 10 mins....

Ilisten2theradio Tue 25-Jun-13 09:33:20

I don't suppose you are in London?
There is something called futurversity in some boroughs which looks good - unfortunately no good for me as its all short part days, but which might help you out

Notmyidea Tue 25-Jun-13 10:37:45

can you pack them off volunteering locally? An archeological dig or gardening at your nearest national trust place? Would they set up their own car washing buisness? Would some of the clubs they've been to before have them as young leaders?

BlogOnTheTyne Thu 27-Jun-13 08:55:51

Thanks. Not near London I'm afraid.

Would they be too young to do volunteering, at just turned 12?

They'd like to set up a business but can't see them handling the 'social' aspects of car washing, let alone the practical ability to wash a car competently!! They still seem at an age when they need fairly close supervision as DT2 has Asperger's, they often fight/argue and neither is what you might call 'street-wise'.

They don't really 'fit' with a 'type' of 12 yr old boy....they're not really sporty....not really techie (although one does like to do a bit of computer programming but the other hates and can't do that kind of thing)...not really artsy....

One loves creative writing/history/politics - but his twin hates all that - and the other does like using computer programmes like Google Sketch Up and Blender - which he twin hates!

The clubs they used to attend don't allow helpers as young as they are.

It seems a v difficult inbetween age - neither 16 yr old teens nor 10 yr old children but somewhere in the middle.

Any other ideas much appreciated.

DS1 (13) will be doing the following:

1 week helping out a friend who owns a fencing company.

1 week helping at a holiday club for 5-10 year olds (small group helper and acting in drama sketches).

1 week sailing course.

1 week on holiday with family, including three day surfing course.

2 weeks faffing about on Minecraft with his mates whilst pretending to learn music theory & revise for September's Science assessment.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now