I can hardly believe that school has been out for a almost 10 days and we have survived the first full week of summer. Making the decision to set intentions at the beginning of this season has created a summer schedule for structure and fun.
The goal for the summer is to reduce screen time as a family. I wanted to make sure the kids had sufficient time to use their imaginations, be creative and have fun without screens.
Setting The Summer Schedule
During the school year, we have a no electronics rule for the mornings. This is so we are able to get ready with minimal distractions. Years ago, I found that the kids couldn’t get dressed and out the door if the TV was on. Thus, no electronics in the morning became a hard and fast rule.
On weekends, we bent the rules and they were allowed to do whatever they wanted when they got up. This was really so I could use this extra time to sleep in and lounge.
It was harder to get them off the devices later in the day when they were given permission to use them in the morning. When we limited screen time this summer, it was easiest to stick to school year rules. There was one minor adjustment made: no devices till after 2:30pm.
Before 3pm, I can maintain a strong will from hearing the words “I”m bored” and can easily tell them to go play. In the late afternoon, this is the time we are home from the pool and everyone needs a break. It’s like it becomes our mandatory quiet time until I start dinner.
Planning Ahead For Next Week
This week is going to get another adjustment to incorporate at least an hour of outdoor play time. We had some rain in the first week, making it harder to go outside. Although, the kids were being creative and keeping active, we still needed to get some good ol’ vitamin D. Their mandatory outside time will be after dinner when it is a little cooler and the sun is not so blazing.
The no screens before bedtime rule will therefor be reinstated again. Even by allowing electronics mid afternoon, they are still on them for too long. I knew we couldn’t go cold turkey, so I’m okay with easing into a new schedule. It’s only been a week but we are learning how to change a long time habit and Mom is working on keeping her patience.
Breaking The Food/Electronics Connection
What is it about mindlessly snacking and zoning out in front of a device? Boredom becomes that trigger in the brain for food. Ironic, how when they are active or being creative, the issue of snacks doesn’t even arise.
As soon as my youngest gets on his device, it’s like something clicks in his mind that signals food. The decision to close the kitchen during the day meant they could ask for a snack at designated times of my choosing. This is a work in progress because my younger two are grazers.
With the older kids home, they have buddies to keep them company so they are not mindlessly sitting all day. When they are playing together, I have gotten more free time to do things like read quietly upstairs.
My intention for this week is for everyone to go outside after dinner, putting all electronics away to unplug before bed. Different creative energies come out at night when they ride their bikes, tinker with tools or have general playtime. We could all stand to be more physically active to whittle down screen time even further.