Secret to a Happy Summer with Teens & Tweens

Posted July 13th, 2011 by Sue Wagner in Parenting, Teens & Tweens

Welcome to the Teens and Tweens channel of The DC Moms!  I’m excited to be the editor of this section where we’ll share the ups and downs of the ultimate political game — raising tweens and teens in and around our nation’s capital!  (Full disclosure: It’s not actually as bad as you think.)

I am currently a stay-at-home mom to four: a teen, a tween, an elementary schooler, and a preschooler.  Keeping everybody happy is a juggling act.  Especially in the summer.

As the school year is winding down, part of me is looking forward to summer… sleeping in, no homework, no lunches to pack, no carpools to drive.  The other part of me fears it.  It’s me vs. four kids, all day, every day.  It’s an 80-day marathon.

Each summer it gets harder to entertain all the troops at once.  Long gone are the days when I could turn on the sprinkler and pull out some bubbles as our afternoon activity.  Playgrounds and spraygrounds hold allure for my younger two, but my teen and tween just roll their eyes at the mere mention of them.

But this year, I have discovered the way to the tweenage heart… via their stomachs.  I can convince my older kids to come along on almost any family adventure if there is a gastronomic incentive.  Spend a day at the Air and Space Museum?  Sure, if we can stop at Gordon Biersch on the way home.  Meet up with friends at Cabin John Playground?  If I throw in a side trip to California Tortilla. Catch a play at Imagination Stage? Sure! If there’s Georgetown Cupcakes for the ride home. Animated movie? If we can hit the concession stand at the theater.

It’s a price I’m willing to pay to actually see all my kids enjoy a weekly field trip together.

One thing that is most evident when you have a teenager in the house is how fleeting your time is with them.   That baby I feel like I JUST brought home from the hospital?  He’ll be off to college in a few short years.  I’m more than willing to pay the price of a dozen cupcakes to get him to hang out with me for a little bit longer.

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