Get Outside And Play: No Devices After Dinner
Taking electronics away once they are given is harder to do than I imagined. So much so that we are going to do another week of being intentional about no devices after dinner. Since we haven’t been sitting around all day, the first two weeks of summer break has flown by. There is no doubt in my mind that the next 9.5 weeks of reducing screen time will create a habit for life.
A minor blip in the system occurred when the kids bought Just Dance for the Nintendo Switch. They found a loophole in the rules because we are getting exercise and it’s a family activity. The day after it arrived I broke down and let them use it in the morning.
Besides that falter, we have been sticking to the no electronics rule until mid afternoon consistently. Having more time to spend together in the morning has escalated the fighting a bit. Leading to my need for an escape. Usually that mean I hijack my phone from its plugged in position and announce to the house that I’ll be in the bathroom for an extended period of time.
That has become my break in the day that is needed for everyone to survive.
Lack of Personal Space
We are all going through an adjustment period with these changes and for mom, I have lost much of my personal space. While this decision is proving to be excellent, I sacrificed my privacy and alone time. One morning in the shower, I noticed that several visitors make their appearance in the bathroom along side me. These boys come to hang out, ask 100 questions or make our closet the base for a game of tag.
The key to keeping my sanity is to be intentional about doing more things on my own. I went from having a lot of free time when school was in session to constantly having a child attached to my hip. I love spending time with my kids, but I also love time to recharge and keep my patience.
This requires me to pause and do my thing especially so I can dump all my thoughts out onto paper. 6 a.m. is hands down the best time to spend alone before the house wakes up and I can begin tackling the day with peace.
Waking Up With the Sun
During the school year, we are able to follow a schedule pretty regularly. The moment the final school bell rings, all body clocks are thrown out the window. Kids are waking up early with the sun and want to stay up until the moon comes out. My kids would be excellent farmers because they follow daylight to a T.
When the kids young and napping during the day, their bedrooms were like a cave lined with room darkening shades. It might be time to revisit those days to have longer periods of sleep for my little guys and more quiet time for mom.
My tween has no problems sleeping in till 9 a.m., but when is beginning her day, her brothers have already put in a solid couple hours of daylight. I didn’t take into account how different their schedules were until we took away their devices in the morning.
The Best Part of Summer
Lucky for us there is this great summer invention called the pool. It is a magical place where for a couple hours a day the whining and complaining disappears. My kids are like fish being one with the water. While we are there, I can relax, get to play with them, watch them do a 100 somersaults, instead of always saying no, not right, and redirecting their habits.
This is a time when they forget about their kindles, playing on their Nintendo or watching TV. Instead they get to dive under the water, play with each other, make up new pool games that they will remember for a lifetime.
I’ll never forget the diving board contests my cousins and I would make up and play for hours on end. As a parent, I can totally see how this can work in our favor. The kids play and the adults can sit off to the side, tan and talk only intervening once in awhile.
The pool dictated our summers and this is one tradition I am glad to pass along to our kids.
Learning From Our Failures
We have almost finished our library’s summer reading program in the first two weeks of break. To keep the reading motivation high, I will have to create some incentives of my own so they won’t want their devices. When we started, I hid all the remotes and devices making it harder for them to subconsciously veg out. They have located all my hiding spots but the caveat is they must ask in order to use. The devices are no longer readily available to them like they were before the end of the school year.
This is no longer an experiment but we are in the state where it is easy to revert back to old ways. All it takes is for me to let down my guard for one moment to watch all the progress we have made go right down the toilet.
It’s amazing how well kids adjust to change when you implement it with awareness each day. This change has not been as hard on the kids as I would have thought. The biggest challenge is for me to hold out and really stick to my guns. There have been times when I sneak in a break and they call me out for being on my phone.
Mom must walk the walk!
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