Where can I buy our kids new ears?

This must be some ritual of summer that I don’t remember from when I was a kid, but is there something about the temperature, the humidity, the lack of classrooms that causes children to lose their listening?
Not their hearing, I’m sure they can hear just fine. It’s whether they actually process what they hear, whether it sinks in or not.
If you have children I bet you know what I’m talking about. It’s as if their “listening ears” have been left at school, tucked neatly into a desk, never to be pulled out until September rolls around.

Day after day, I keep thinking “ah, it must be that we’re expecting too much of them, since it is summer, after all.” Or that “I’m just getting cranky because of the heat” or “entertaining them 24/7 is just driving us all crazy” or… something.
But they clearly are listening to others, as we see time and again when we’re out or visiting with friends. It’s just us parents. The people they believe can be safely ignored.
And y’know what? They’re right. After all, one of the things we’re trying to create during summer is a more relaxed home life and atmosphere, and we are trying to be more tolerant of them being a bit unplugged.
The challenge is that “a bit unplugged” is a continuum, not a point, so I think that the problem is that each of us in our family has a different idea of where we should be on the “plugged / unplugged” scale.
So let me ask you this: how do you deal with the epidemic of broken or missing “listening ears” with your children during the summer? I mean, how much of a schedule can you keep to when there’s so little structure during the summer months?

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