So far talk of curfew in our house only happens when we are on vacation in Rhode Island.
Every summer we spend a couple of weeks in a small community where the kids can bike where ever they go from the beach, to a small ice cream shop, to their friends’ houses. There are plenty of friends to go around and always something to do — day and night. Even my youngest will head out in the evening to get ice cream with friends and to play flashlight tag and other games at different houses.
This is where I first realized that cell phones can be useful for kids. A few years ago, we activated an old phone for my older three to share so they could let me know where they were going, and I could text them when to come home. The only drawback was that they were rarely at the same place at the same time. Since then, they’ve all gotten their own phones, but now I wished my 10-year-old had a phone — and I can’t believe I’m saying that.
The other night he headed out with his friends and didn’t materialize until a bit before 10. He’d been at a friends’ house playing games outside, but we didn’t know where he was, and there was no way for him to reach us if he had problems on the 5-minute bike ride home. Even if we’d told him what time to be home, he didn’t have a watch.
Luckily he made it home safely. He just assumed his curfew was 10 which caused a bit of a ruckus with his nearly 15-year-old brother — whose curfew has fluctuated between 10:30 and 11 p.m. this vacation. Every summer they want to stay out later and later, and every summer I try to increase their curfew by tiny increments. A mom needs a bit of sleep, after all.
And when curfew time rolls around — that’s when I start wishing the older kids didn’t have cell phones. About 10 minutes of time-to-be-home, the text alerts start going off.
“Mom can I stay out a little bit later?”
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 16, Lilly, 14, Adam, 14, and Jonah, 10.