What Our 7-Year-Old Learned This Summer

At the end of every school year, I dread planning for summer.

It’s hot. It’s expensive to feed growing kids. It’s a delicate balancing act to keep an energetic boy who’s an only child – busy.

I want nothing more than to sit around at the pool every day and relax. But when you’re self-employed, there are no days off without a lot of planning.

This summer, we raced from camp-to-camp every week in June, then took most of July off from daily demands.

I wish I could say A.J. didn’t have any tears or disappointments or emotional bumps and bruises this summer. But he did.

A.J. grew quite a bit in the weeks since he finished first grade.

Physically  – he looks longer, leaner and finally weighs more than 50 pounds.

Emotionally – he still a big boy, but becoming a little man.

He’s still very much attached to me and laid on the mommy guilt thick & heavy before I left for a conference in Orlando, Florida. In case you missed it, check out “I Haven’t Even Packed for My Conference and Already I’m Filled with Mommy Guilt.”

Battle for Metropolis Six Flags


This summer A.J. learned a lot of lessons that we didn’t know were ahead. We’re proud of how he’s handling the process.

Every camp day isn’t fun.

He attended four different camps this summer. I think he expected it to be non-stop entertainment, unicorns, popcorn and cartwheels. Each camp had its own structure and activities. Although he came home some days and complained that camp wasn’t fun, I reminded him that there are plenty of things we have to do in life that aren’t fun.

Washing dishes isn’t fun. Washing the car isn’t fun. My job has tons of non-fun duties.

That’s life! Have you ever met a 20-something who’s self-absorbed and used to the world catering to them? We refuse to raise an irritating adult.

Starting Sports at Six Years Old

Sports Camps can be tough.

Both Braves Camp last year and this year’s Jr. Hawks Camp were a physical and emotional stretch for A.J. He didn’t start playing formal sports until he was six. In the South, that’s about three years behind the average student. I was amazed at how early boys start playing tee-ball.

This year, he got some negative feedback from kids at Jr. Hawks camp. Although the other kids’ words, “You can’t play“, “You can’t shoot 3’s” and “Get off the court” were NOT sportsman-like conduct, we talked about how he would treat younger, inexperienced players on his team.

A.J. said he’s going to remember how horrible their words made him feel, so he won’t treat anyone else that way. I pray this lesson sticks with him.

Everyone says he’s getting taller.

Something happened this summer although I’ll need to go back to the pediatrician for his measurements to confirm.

But every time I dropped him off at camp, then picked him up the same day – he looked taller. I guess summer growth spurts happen during daytime hours.

This was the perfect summer to try a new fashion line for children and moms, Minnow and Mars that we received to review.

Here’s A.J. in his Minnow and Mars Red Chambray Pocket T-shirt. The color block t-shirt was perfect for our summer fun and the shorts are 100% cotton.

He can shower, shampoo, and dry himself.

Every kid’s progression is different.  For us, seven seemed to be the ideal age to give him the task of bathing himself. I asked several parents on the Mommy Talk Show Facebook page for their opinions and opinions:

At this age, A.J. can keep track of the important places to wash, keep the shower liner inside the tub, as well as limit his use of body wash and shampoo. Hint: Pump bottles of products are great for the littles who are starting to bathe themselves. I can explain that two pumps of body wash and two pumps of conditioner are just right.

Parents will comfort you, but not make things easy for you.

When I shared on my personal Facebook page how A.J. had his first dose of how mean kids can be, several of my friends were fired up. They wanted to talk to those kids, the coaches, and everyone who’s involved.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t full of nice people. Every person isn’t going to like A.J.

Much of what was said to him was outside of the earshot of the basketball coaches. Mean kids are pros at this, just like adult bullies who whisper things under their breath.

So we are here to comfort and remind him that we love him, that God loves him, that he should be a reflection of this love – even if other kids don’t reflect it back.

For more insight on enjoying your summer with your family check out:

25+ of the Best Summer Movies for Boys | Where to Find Free Kids Events | 10+ Questions to Ask BEFORE You Register for Summer Camps

Before You Register for Summer Camps

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. It’s such a bittersweet feeling to watch the kids grow. On the one hand, I’m so proud of how they’re turning out. On the other hand, every milestone I see, I know it’s one step closer to them being out on their own and away from mom.

  2. It sounds like your son has had an amazing summer so far, filled with life lessons and growth. What more can a mom ask for? I think it’s great that you used other children’s negative behavior as a teaching tool.

  3. Your son probably will love camp when it is all done and ask to go back. It is very competitive in those sports camps so I hope he gets the attention he needs and then he will improve.

  4. As the mom of a seven-year-old boy I appreciate this post so much and keep nodding my head yes! What a beautiful family you have – and he is luck to have such a smart, intuitive mama.

  5. Your son certainly learned a lot this summer. Even if every day at camp wasn’t fun, he is going to look back fondly on those memories and how they shaped him.

  6. It’s so cool that you can see how he’s learning and growing over the course of the summer. I bet he has been learning a lot at each of those camps.

  7. 1. He is so cute!
    He is a year older than my daughter. He is progressing nicely. I am crying at him saying camp is boring, and I am wowed at him attending 4 camps!!! What

  8. Your son is so adorable! Looks like he is having quite the summer of learning

  9. It’s sooo expensive to feed kids during the summer! My girls did camp week this year which was really more like daily VBS. My oldest is also 7 yrs old, they are growing up so fast!

  10. He is such a cutie! I love these things he learned this summer! He’s growing up so quickly. 🙂

  11. I think the last one is an amazing aspect for children to learn. Parents can’t always make life easier, there are things that have to be worked through rather parents are there or not.

  12. Looks like you had a truly fun and productive summer! We started showers around the same time and it definitely saves a lot of time in the mornings. I love how you found different camps and things to keep AJ busy! Since our move last summer, I haven’t found anything to take place of our normal summer fun. I’m hoping I can change that during the school year. Keeping kids active means keeping their brains working and I always think that’s a good thing at any age.

  13. What a handsome boy you have there! My son attended a UCF baseball camp this summer. He’s a bit older than your buy, but he learned some great lessons at camp!

  14. It’s good that he learned so much from the camps that he attended this summer. Camps are great because it makes them learn about being independent and doing things on their own.

  15. Minnow and Mars? Haven’t heard of them, but how cute!! Love the pics, and the fact that you’re not stressing about every day in camp not being ‘fun.’ My son had the same assumption when he started camp this year. 😉

  16. He is so adorable! God to know that he learned something great this summer. Thanks for sharing.

  17. This is a great experience for him. Kids need to learn that there will come a time that Mommy won’t be able to do everything for him. Going to camp teaches kids to be independent and to be problem solvers. It is true that not all days are fun days at camp, but the experience you gain will shape you to be a better person.

  18. This is so great! I love how you were able to research and find great activities to keep AJ learning and still having fun while being budget friendly! I failed in that area this summer. Awesome job Mom!

  19. We didn’t do any summer camps this year. Last year we did a few and the consensus from the kids was that it is WAY TOO HOT in FL for sports camps. They also hated the other day camp I put them in.

    So far we’ve done a lot of swimming and reading this summer. If I ignore the fact that I have barely worked this summer, then I have no regrets at all about skipping camp lol.

  20. What a great summer! It sounds like you all are empowering him to be strong and independent and still kind and compassionate towards others! I know you must be proud of all the things he’s accomplished this summer!